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jj1027
January 14th, 2011, 03:53 AM
The Silver Pine Demon

Ok so this is another concept I'm working on. It has been monopolizing my mind, and keeping me from writing three blind mice. I hope you enjoy this one, and do know that is is still incomplete


It was a windy September afternoon in Silver Pine, Colorado, and an unseasonable chill rode on the turbulent breeze. Emma Ryland pulled the hood of her windbreaker down over her face as she crossed the town square to the tiny library. Apart from the usual few loiterers outside of the little curio shops, the square was deserted. Despite this foreboding environment, a special type of glee was in her heart. It was partly her own predisposition to be happy, and another part was the promise of new knowledge hidden among the many books within the building she approached. But perhaps the single most driving factor in her good spirits was the kind smile and calming presence of the young lady who stood outside of the double doors, waiting for her. It was Kirsten Milhorn, and the two had been friends since the first grade.

Emma smiled in return, and walked straight into the library. She didn’t need to look back to know that Kristen had followed. She held the door open and let the other girl pass first. They walked down the shelves to get their books, and when they had finished, each took their traditional seats at the center desk, directly across from each other. Kristen looked up with amusement at the stack of books Emma had collected. All supernatural “non-fiction”, as had come to be the norm. She laughed quietly and picked up her copy of the latest vampire novel. These were ghosts and goblins more her speed.

“I still don’t know how you can read that junk, Kris,” Emma said in a playful tone while she leafed through one of her many books.

“Like you’re one to talk,” Kristen shot back. “At least my junk doesn’t pretend to be some weirdo documentary.”

“Their’s nothing too weird about it,” Emma replied, indicating the title with one finger.

“The Silver Pine Demon” was scrawled across the top of the cover in thin, curved letters the color of tarnished silver. “After all, they have plenty of facts about the cases. It’s not like some of those other mysteries you hear about.” She was concentrating more on the pages of the book then on what she was saying.

A shudder ran down Kristen’s spine at the mention of the incident. “How do you read that gruesome stuff? I mean, thirteen people were killed.” Kristen looked sincerely concerned now, as she always did when this subject came up. Twenty years ago, in this same quiet little town, a gruesome discovery was made. It was the body of a young woman, lying dead with her eyes open and a pentagram carved into her abdomen. The autopsy revealed a message carved into the woman’s back, relaying the blood-chilling tale of how she died, and the reasons behind it. It had said that the town stood on sacred ground, where dwelt a spirit, and that for as long as the town stood, the townspeople would continue to die. Twelve more bodies were found, each with a pentagram in their stomach and a message on their back containing a clue to the next murder. The police were turning the town inside out, but the killer was never found.

What they did find was they did find was the next victim, as indicated by the clue on the last corpse’s back. In scarlet text on human skin, it had been written, “A wealthy man next shall fall, unless you leave this land. A demon more than I in his heart, he casts the dreams of men upon the rocks. You should thank me for his demise.” A list of all the wealthy men in Silver Pine was constructed, and for days, it was examined in detail. Just when it seemed that the killings would happen again, a man stepped foreword to ask for protective custody. His name was Dean Ardell, and he was the former president of a law firm that had been based in the town. One year previous, he had closed the firm without any warning, and many people in the town lost their jobs and homes. The police took the man in, and for two weeks, he stayed in their care. He was never killed, and the grizzly murders were at an end.

“Yeah, it’s gruesome stuff alright,” Emma agreed. “But I think it’s kind of fascinating. I mean, it couldn’t really have been a ghost, so someone had to do it. I want to know who!” There was a childish curiosity in her voice. It was always their when Emma was researching. It was her thirst for knowledge.

“Emma, I know you’re always so big about finding things out,” Kristen said, her voice still muted with worry. “But some things are best left unsolved. I mean, if it were really a person, they would’ve been caught.”

Emma gave Kristen an incredulous look. “You really believe in the ghost, don’t you?” She sounded as if she was surprised, and if she was, she shouldn’t have been. After all, this was Kristen she was talking to, queen of vampires, witches and things that go bump in the night. “Those dumb books you read have fried your mind.”

“Like you should talk,” Kristen said, her voice cheerful again. She pushed the book in Emma’s hands forward and into her face in a playful gesture, and Emma simply glared at her, wishing they were outside in the winter so she could throw something at her without getting into trouble. Kristen just kept smiling her sly little smile, and Emma couldn’t quite manage to maintain her scowl. “Either way, even if it was a person, there were never any suspects. How could you solve a case that hasn’t been solved in 20 years of investigation?”

“You won’t,” said a rather dreary voice from behind them. It took them by surprised because it had been so sudden, but almost immediately, it became familiar. They knew without turning to look that it had to be Robby. “It was the Demon. Case closed. Don’t waste your time.” Without another word, he walked away from them. Kristen turned to look after him, but Emma just scoffed and looked back to her book.

“What happened with him?” Kristen asked after a few moments. “I mean, he used to be such a nice guy.”

“Well I didn’t think he was so great,” Emma said, nose now buried deep in her book.

“And he’s wrong to boot. I swear I’m going to find out who did this, no matter what Robby Greendale may say.”

Despite her words to the contrary, Emma did indeed wonder what had happened to Robby, the nice guy she and Kristen had been friends with since junior high. He used to be quiet, reserved, and friendly all the time. He would come to the library and read all the old books like Sherlock Holms and Gulliver’s Travels. He used to walk home with them, telling jokes and laughing louder than anyone. It was fun to have him around, even if she had said he was annoying. Now he had changed so much it was as if he was a different person. He always looked mad about something, and he kept to himself. He now only talked to them rarely, and never for more than a few moments like he had done here. Nevertheless, Emma did not have time to unravel the mystery that was Robby. She had other things to deal with.

After they had each had their fill of reading, the girls rose in unison to return their respective books. After all the books were shelved, the two left the library and walked together along the sidewalk leading away from the library. They chatted idly as they walked along, smiling and laughing like they always did. When they reached the end of the sidewalk, the two hugged, said their goodbyes, and went their separate ways.

The wind had died down by the time she reached the tree lined street outside of her house, and the trees stood stalk still, watching silently as she passed by. She counted off the houses on the block until she reached hers, the fourth. She went up to the door and pushed it open, for by now she knew it was never locked. There had never been much need for locks in Silver Pine. It was late enough by now that dinner was over, and her father was asleep in front of the TV. She wasn’t hungry, and was too busy thinking to eat
anyway. She needed to sleep, and be ready for school tomorrow.

The wind woke her the next morning, howling like a wounded animal. She tossed and turned, vainly fighting to continue her sleep. She rolled out of her bed at last after several minutes, and stood up to stretch. She pulled on a T-shirt and jacket, and grabbed some jeans. She left her room, and saw something unexpected in the kitchen. Her dad was awake before her.

This made her do a double-take, as he always slept in. What was stranger was that the TV was on in front of him. He hated the TV, and the only reason he had one was for her. Still, he now sat at the table, watching intently as the news played on the screen. After only a few moments, it had captured her attention as well. The pictures on the screen, and the voices of the anchormen, were painting the perfect picture of her greatest fears. She watched in stunned silence as her vision of the peaceful town she called home fell to pieces. There had been a murder in Silver Pine, Colorado.

“ the killing occurred in the early morning,” the news anchor said as the camera panned over a house she passed every day on the way to school. The familiarity was so strange, being connected to something so inconceivable. People didn’t die here, in this town. She had always taken that simple fact for granted, even when reading books that so blatantly disproved it. The thought had comforted her, and made her immune to fear. It helped her to know that violence would never again befall this place. But now that sense of security was gone. There was a killer on the loose. And that was hardly the worst of it.

“experts are baffled as to how the killer entered the house, which was locked from the inside. There were signs of a short struggle and nothing was taken from inside the house. The victim, Rebecca Marshall, was single, and lived alone. The most bizarre part of the mystery, though, was the state in which the body was found.” As the anchor man spoke, Emma felt her blood run cold. Somehow, she knew what he would say before he said it. “In a truly frightening twist, the body was posed and a pentagram was found carved into her body, along with a message, which was carved into her back. The contents of the message have not been released to the public at this time.”

Emma Nearly fainted on the spot when she heard that. A wave of nausea swept through her body, and she fell limply into her seat. It was the same. Maybe not the same person, but the M.O was the same. The realization made her sick to the stomach, and she felt as if her heart may explode. She looked to her father and saw how afraid he looked. A grown man, shaking like a leaf over a news report. It only made her feel force. As the news report came to an end, he turned to Emma with nervous eyes. “Do you want a ride to school,” he asked. His voice was shaky, and he wasn’t used to that. He was never a tough guy, but she’d never seen him really scared. Not like he was now.

“That’s okay dad. I think I’ll be okay on my own,” she lied. Her voice shook almost as much as his. “After all, I’m meeting Kristen on the way. And you have that book to get to.” Her dad’s book was all he ever did. That’s how it worked when you’re a full time author. Meet the deadlines, get published, split the money with the publishes, and everyone’s happy. He was pretty successful, and his pen name was well known. Allen Walters, crime novelist.

Her father was still uneasy, but he let her go. She walked faster than usual, and kept looking over her shoulder. She was afraid, and she knew it wouldn’t go away. Every rustling leaf, every small sound, every shadow seemed to hint of the killer’s approach. She was so relieved as she approached the place where Kristen was waiting, that it wasn’t until she was right in front of her that she saw that Kristen was crying. The other girl wiped her tears away, and tried to smile, but Emma wasn’t fooled something was wrong with her.

“You saw the news?” Emma asked, giving Kristen a sympathetic look. Kristen nodded at first, but didn’t answer verbally for a few moments. She began to walk toward the school, and the tears began to flow again. Emma kept pace with her, wishing there was something she could say. She knew there was nothing.

“Yeah, I saw it,” she choked out. “ I-I haven’t stopped crying since this morning.” She was shaking really hard, but the tears had stopped at last. Emma couldn’t not remember the last time Kristen had cried like that. He personal guess was never. “ I’m sorry, Em, but I’m taking this pretty hard.” And then it struck me as to why. I remembered the victim’s name, Rebecca Marshall. It struck me then that Kristen knew her. After a minute, I remembered that Kristen had singing lessons with her. She let it drop. No need to keep bringing it up, opening old wounds.

They walked in silence, and entered the schoolyard without another word . Twenty minutes of hell, standing in the schoolyard, before they could go inside and start the day. Twenty minute of whispers, rumors, and lies, passed quietly from person to person, amplified by that morning’s news. Patience was nothing either girl had today, and that was before Robby came up to them. At first, Emma wanted to send him away, but then she saw that he looked different. He was still far from the happy guy she knew, but his scowl was now gone. He looked…sad.

“Hey, Emma, Kristy…” His voice sounded less distant than before. Sorter, and with less anger. Emma was happy to see that. He turned to Kristen. “I heard about your music teacher. I’m really sorry about what happened.” Emma was shocked to hear it. This was the first really nice thing he’d said in months. As soon as he had said it, Kristen slapped him across the face and rushed away from him, tears once more in her eyes. Emma stood in place for a minute, not knowing what to do. At last, she chased after Kristen.

She found Kristen standing in a nearby corner, crying a little less by now. In her face was an emotion Emma had not seen yet. She could not identify what it was, but it was something entirely new. She walked up to her friend, and stood next to her. After a moment, Kristen looked up at her. “I’m sorry, please don’t be mad.” I wasn’t mad at her. I was confused, and I wanted answers, but I was not mad.” I lost it, okay? I know I was wrong, to do that, but I hate liars.”
Emma was even more confused by now. She gave a face, and gave Kristen another look. “what did he do wrong? He was just apologizing.”
“You don’t get it, do you? He has to be lying. He has to be lying, because I never told him I was taking music lessons.” Kristen had stopped crying by now. The bell rang, and she stood up to go inside. Emma followed. The mysteries were mounting, but for now they had to wait.

Johnathanrs
January 15th, 2011, 11:49 AM
Comments below. Red deals with parts to look at that I noticed, or examples. Silver omitts.







It was a windy September afternoon in Silver Pine, Colorado, and an unseasonable chill rode on the turbulent breeze. Emma Ryland pulled the hood of her windbreaker down over her face as she crossed the town square to the tiny library. Apart from the usual few loiterers outside of the little curio shops, the square was deserted. Despite this foreboding environment, a special type of glee was in her heart. It was partly her own predisposition to be happy, and another part was the promise of new knowledge hidden among the many books within the building she approached. But perhaps the single most driving factor in her good spirits was the kind smile and calming presence of the young lady who stood outside of the double doors, waiting for her. It was Kirsten Milhorn, and the two had been friends since the first grade.

Emma smiled in return, and walked straight into the library. She didn’t need to look back to know that Kristen had followed. She held the door open and let the other girl pass first. They walked down the shelves to get their books, and when they had finished, each took their traditional seats at the center desk, directly across from each other. Kristen looked up with amusement at the stack of books Emma had collected. All supernatural “non-fiction”, as had come to be the norm. She laughed quietly and picked up her copy of the latest vampire novel. These were ghosts and goblins more her speed.

“I still don’t know how you can read that junk, Kris,” Emma said in a playful tone while she leafed through one of her many books.

“Like you’re one to talk,” Kristen shot back. “At least my junk doesn’t pretend to be some weirdo documentary.”

“Their’s nothing too weird about it,” Emma replied, indicating the title with one finger.

“The Silver Pine Demon” was scrawled across the top of the cover in thin, curved letters the color of tarnished silver. “After all, they have plenty of facts about the cases. It’s not like some of those other mysteries you hear about.” She was concentrating more on the pages of the book then on what she was saying.

A shudder ran down Kristen’s spine at the mention of the incident. “How do you read that gruesome stuff? I mean, thirteen people were killed.” Kristen looked sincerely concerned now, as she always did when this subject came up. Twenty years ago, in this same quiet little town, a gruesome discovery was made. It was the body of a young woman, lying dead with her eyes open and a pentagram carved into her abdomen. The autopsy revealed a message carved into the woman’s back, relaying the blood-chilling tale of how she died, and the reasons behind it. It had said that the town stood on sacred ground, where dwelt a spirit, and that for as long as the town stood, the townspeople would continue to die. Twelve more bodies were found, each with a pentagram in their stomach and a message on their back containing a clue to the next murder. The police were turning the town inside out, but the killer was never found.

What they did find was they did find was the next victim, as indicated by the clue on the last corpse’s back. In scarlet text on human skin, it had been written, “A wealthy man next shall fall, unless you leave this land. A demon more than I in his heart, he casts the dreams of men upon the rocks. You should thank me for his demise.” A list of all the wealthy men in Silver Pine was constructed, and for days, it was examined in detail. Just when it seemed that the killings would happen again, a man stepped foreword to ask for protective custody. His name was Dean Ardell, and he was the former president of a law firm that had been based in the town. One year previous, he had closed the firm without any warning, and many people in the town lost their jobs and homes. The police took the man in, and for two weeks, he stayed in their care. He was never killed, and the grizzly murders were at an end.

“Yeah, it’s gruesome stuff alright,” Emma agreed. “But I think it’s kind of fascinating. I mean, it couldn’t really have been a ghost, so someone had to do it. I want to know who!” There was a childish curiosity in her voice. It was always their when Emma was researching. It was her thirst for knowledge.

“Emma, I know you’re always so big about finding things out,” Kristen said, her voice still muted with worry. “But some things are best left unsolved. I mean, if it were really a person, they would’ve been caught.”

Emma gave Kristen an incredulous look. “You really believe in the ghost, don’t you?” She sounded as if she was surprised, and if she was, she shouldn’t have been. After all, this was Kristen she was talking to, queen of vampires, witches and things that go bump in the night. “Those dumb books you read have fried your mind.”

“Like you should talk,” Kristen said, her voice cheerful again. She pushed the book in Emma’s hands forward and into her face in a playful gesture, and Emma simply glared at her, wishing they were outside in the winter so she could throw something at her without getting into trouble. Kristen just kept smiling her sly little smile, and Emma couldn’t quite manage to maintain her scowl. “Either way, even if it was a person, there were never any suspects. How could you solve a case that hasn’t been solved in 20 years of investigation?”

“You won’t,” said a rather dreary voice from behind them. It took them by surprised because it had been so sudden, but almost immediately, it became familiar. They knew without turning to look that it had to be Robby. “It was the Demon. Case closed. Don’t waste your time.” Without another word, he walked away from them. Kristen turned to look after him, but Emma just scoffed and looked back to her book.

“What happened with him?” Kristen asked after a few moments. “I mean, he used to be such a nice guy.”

“Well I didn’t think he was so great,” Emma said, nose now buried deep in her book.

“And he’s wrong to boot. I swear I’m going to find out who did this, no matter what Robby Greendale may say.”

Despite her words to the contrary, Emma did indeed wonder what had happened to Robby, the nice guy she and Kristen had been friends with since junior high. He used to be quiet, reserved, and friendly all the time. He would come to the library and read all the old books like Sherlock Holms and Gulliver’s Travels. He used to walk home with them, telling jokes and laughing louder than anyone. It was fun to have him around, even if she had said he was annoying. Now he had changed so much it was as if he was a different person. He always looked mad about something, and he kept to himself. He now only talked to them rarely, and never for more than a few moments like he had done here. Nevertheless, Emma did not have time to unravel the mystery that was Robby. She had other things to deal with.

After they had each had their fill of reading, the girls rose in unison to return their respective books. After all the books were shelved, the two left the library and walked together along the sidewalk leading away from the library. They chatted idly as they walked along, smiling and laughing like they always did. When they reached the end of the sidewalk, the two hugged, said their goodbyes, and went their separate ways.

The wind had died down by the time she reached the tree lined street outside of her house, and the trees stood stalk still, watching silently as she passed by. She counted off the houses on the block until she reached hers, the fourth. She went up to the door and pushed it open, for by now she knew it was never locked. There had never been much need for locks in Silver Pine. It was late enough by now that dinner was over, and her father was asleep in front of the TV. She wasn’t hungry, and was too busy thinking to eat anyway. She needed to sleep, and be ready for school tomorrow.

The wind woke her the next morning, howling like a wounded animal. She tossed and turned, vainly fighting to continue her sleep. She rolled out of her bed at last after several minutes, and stood up to stretch. She pulled on a T-shirt and jacket, and grabbed some jeans. She left her room, and saw something unexpected in the kitchen. Her dad was awake before her.

This made her do a double-take, as he always slept in. What was stranger was that the TV was on in front of him. He hated the TV, and the only reason he had one was for her. Still, he now sat at the table, watching intently as the news played on the screen. After only a few moments, it had captured her attention as well. The pictures on the screen, and the voices of the anchormen, were painting the perfect picture of her greatest fears. She watched in stunned silence as her vision of the peaceful town she called home fell to pieces. There had been a murder in Silver Pine, Colorado.

“ the killing occurred in the early morning,” the news anchor said as the camera panned over a house she passed every day on the way to school. The familiarity was so strange, being connected to something so inconceivable. People didn’t die here, in this town. She had always taken that simple fact for granted, even when reading books that so blatantly disproved it. The thought had comforted her, and made her immune to fear. It helped her to know that violence would never again befall this place. But now that sense of security was gone. There was a killer on the loose. And that was hardly the worst of it.

“experts are baffled as to how the killer entered the house, which was locked from the inside. There were signs of a short struggle and nothing was taken from inside the house. The victim, Rebecca Marshall, was single, and lived alone. The most bizarre part of the mystery, though, was the state in which the body was found.” As the anchor man spoke, Emma felt her blood run cold. Somehow, she knew what he would say before he said it. “In a truly frightening twist, the body was posed and a pentagram was found carved into her body, along with a message, which was carved into her back. The contents of the message have not been released to the public at this time.”

Emma Nearly fainted on the spot when she heard that. A wave of nausea swept through her body, and she fell limply into her seat. It was the same. Maybe not the same person, but the M.O was the same. The realization made her sick to the stomach, and she felt as if her heart may explode. She looked to her father and saw how afraid he looked. A grown man, shaking like a leaf over a news report. It only made her feel force. As the news report came to an end, he turned to Emma with nervous eyes. “Do you want a ride to school,” he asked. His voice was shaky, and he wasn’t used to that. He was never a tough guy, but she’d never seen him really scared. Not like he was now.

“That’s okay dad. I think I’ll be okay on my own,” she lied. Her voice shook almost as much as his. “After all, I’m meeting Kristen on the way. And you have that book to get to.” Her dad’s book was all he ever did. That’s how it worked when you’re a full time author. Meet the deadlines, get published, split the money with the publishes, and everyone’s happy. He was pretty successful, and his pen name was well known. Allen Walters, crime novelist.

Her father was still uneasy, but he let her go. She walked faster than usual, and kept looking over her shoulder. She was afraid, and she knew it wouldn’t go away. Every rustling leaf, every small sound, every shadow seemed to hint of the killer’s approach. She was so relieved as she approached the place where Kristen was waiting, that it wasn’t until she was right in front of her that she saw that Kristen was crying. The other girl wiped her tears away, and tried to smile, but Emma wasn’t fooled something was wrong with her.

“You saw the news?” Emma asked, giving Kristen a sympathetic look. Kristen nodded at first, but didn’t answer verbally for a few moments. She began to walk toward the school, and the tears began to flow again. Emma kept pace with her, wishing there was something she could say. She knew there was nothing.

“Yeah, I saw it,” she choked out. “ I-I haven’t stopped crying since this morning.” She was shaking really hard, but the tears had stopped at last. Emma couldn’t not remember the last time Kristen had cried like that. He personal guess was never. “ I’m sorry, Em, but I’m taking this pretty hard.” And then it struck me as to why. I remembered the victim’s name, Rebecca Marshall. It struck me then that Kristen knew her. After a minute, I remembered that Kristen had singing lessons with her. She let it drop. No need to keep bringing it up, opening old wounds.

They walked in silence, and entered the schoolyard without another word . Twenty minutes of hell, standing in the schoolyard, before they could go inside and start the day. Twenty minute of whispers, rumors, and lies, passed quietly from person to person, amplified by that morning’s news. Patience was nothing either girl had today, and that was before Robby came up to them. At first, Emma wanted to send him away, but then she saw that he looked different. He was still far from the happy guy she knew, but his scowl was now gone. He looked…sad.

“Hey, Emma, Kristy…” His voice sounded less distant than before. Sorter, and with less anger. Emma was happy to see that. He turned to Kristen. “I heard about your music teacher. I’m really sorry about what happened.” Emma was shocked to hear it. This was the first really nice thing he’d said in months. As soon as he had said it, Kristen slapped him across the face and rushed away from him, tears once more in her eyes. Emma stood in place for a minute, not knowing what to do. At last, she chased after Kristen.

She found Kristen standing in a nearby corner, crying a little less by now. In her face was an emotion Emma had not seen yet. She could not identify what it was, but it was something entirely new. She walked up to her friend, and stood next to her. After a moment, Kristen looked up at her. “I’m sorry, please don’t be mad.” I wasn’t mad at her. I was confused, and I wanted answers, but I was not mad.” I lost it, okay? I know I was wrong, to do that, but I hate liars.”
Emma was even more confused by now. She gave a face, and gave Kristen another look. “what did he do wrong? He was just apologizing.”
“You don’t get it, do you? He has to be lying. He has to be lying, because I never told him I was taking music lessons.” Kristen had stopped crying by now. The bell rang, and she stood up to go inside. Emma followed. The mysteries were mounting, but for now they had to wait.





Grammar/Wording: You are missing a few comma's sparsely. Nothing major that I read. One problem I noticed was you used 'and' too much. A note: This is my weakest area.

ex. The wind had died down by the time she reached the tree lined street outside of her house, and the trees stood stalk still, watching silently as she passed by

The wind had died down by the time she reached the three lined street outside her house. The trees stalk stood still, watching silently as she passed by.

Voice/Style: Your third-person omniscient voice works. Style wise, I like it. Your narration works well.

Flow/Structure: The part I highlighted should be omitted and re-placed. It takes away from the flow of your story. You can't go into a flashback like that. You need to establish that in a prologue/or at the beginning of the story as a pure narration voice. What you are doing there is flashback/info dumping. And it kills the flow. I didn't see any problems with the structure/transitions.

Story Itself: I like it, it works for a mystery/thriller. I can't judge on the plot without a synopsis or prologue however.

(Note: This critique is my own, and not a reflection of a community.)

Luckystars1987
January 15th, 2011, 02:01 PM
I like this and would like to read more.

As jonathanrs said the flashback is misplaced and interrupts the flow.

At the moment I am a bit reluctant to give my critique as I am new to writing fiction and am currently giving myself a hard time with my work! So i won't go as in depth as some of the other more experienced people but if I do see anything obvious I will point it out.

I would like to see more :)

InsanityStrickenWriter
January 15th, 2011, 02:17 PM
I thought it was quite wonderful :) I don't have much criticism to give as most of it has already been said so I'll just point out a couple minor things I noticed:

Emma couldn’t not remember the last time Kristen had cried like that. Her personal guess was never.

Remove the not and add an r to her.


His voice sounded less distant than before. Sorter, and with less anger.
? Do you mean 'Calmer' or something?

Getting a guy like me to read so much text in one sitting is quite an achievement btw. When there's a wall of text on a computer screen I tend to run. Great story.

oarfish
January 15th, 2011, 07:38 PM
This is not a big thing, but you misspelled 'Sherlock Holmes'

jj1027
January 15th, 2011, 08:32 PM
Well thank you everyone. I will have to correct these at some point, but for now I have been writing more. Also, the reason there is no synopsis is because with mystery stories I tend to spoil with them. The only synopsis I've done that I like is for three blind mice, up here somewhere.
So here you go. Sorry for the Wall o' Text. Although, Thankfully, it is a bit shorter.

Things got better from there. That may be an odd thing to say and a strange time to say it, but it’s true. Even in the midst of a crisis, life goes on, and things improve. That morning, Emma wanted nothing more than to stay home and forget the day had begun, but after English, Math, and Social Studies were done, she was back to her old self. The self that liked school, and enjoyed life. In the back of her mind, she was still afraid, but that was in the back round. She was happy, the wind had died a bit, and lunch was on it’s way. Some fresh air could only lift her spirits higher.

At the end of the hall, Kristen waited with a smile. Emma could tell she was still a bit off, but she did seem to be getting better, slowly but surely. Sure took her place by Emma’s side, and together they walked to the cafeteria, and picked up their trays. They sat at their traditional table, taking seats across from each other. The tables around them bustled with excited talk, but for now the subject of the news had died down, and only those of darker interests still buzzed on about the killing. If it were anyone else, or had take place in some other town or city, Kristen might have been in this minority, more for morbid curiosity than for a liking of this sort of thing.

“So, We still on for the library again tonight?” Kristen asked. She was eager to get back to her vampire high school students, and maybe poke some more fun at Emma while she was at it. Emma wasn’t quite sure, herself.

“I don’t know Kris, I think I’ll wait until tomorrow. My dad’ll want me home early tonight.” It was only half the truth. The other half was that she was afraid to go back to her research. She didn’t want to get so absorbed in the murders that she scared herself more. Just then, a voice broke her train of thought. It was Robby, making his way through the crowd to their table. He sure was acting weird lately. First this morning, and now he was sitting with them for lunch? Kristen glared slightly, but Emma called him over.

“ Robby walked over to the table, and sat next to Emma. He still had that sad look to him. In fact, he was one of few people who looked just as upset as they had been that morning. “Hey Emma. And Kristen, I just wanted to-”

“Save it,” Kristen said, cutting him off. “Trust me that you will be explaining yourself. Just not now.” Emma could tell she was still upset, but she wasn’t as mad as that morning. Robby seemed just as happy not to explain himself. Robby turned to Emma, and she wondered what it was he wanted. Kristen turned her attention to the food in front of her.

“ I know you guys have been hanging out at the library lately,” He started, sounding nervous. “I know what you’re trying to figure out, and I think you’re wrong.” Emma felt anger flair. Did this jerk really come here just to argue with her?

“Well you made that clear enough yesterday,” Emma said, glaring at him like Kristen had.

“ Yeah, I know, and I’m sorry about that. Even so, I wanted to help.” Emma and Kristen both looked at him now. “And I think I may know where to start.” He looked and sounded sincere, and Emma really want to believe him. She wanted to believe that she could get her friend back.

“And how would you know that? Aren’t you of the ‘a demon did it’ persuasion? Why would you help us prove you wrong?” Kristen had questioned him, an edge of anger in her voice. Robby Didn’t look the least bit phased.

“I want to help you because I hope you’re right. If I’m right, then this town is in for much more trouble.” Robby’s face was stern and solemn now, and it frightened Emma. She knew in that moment that he was being honest with them. The idea that a demon was running around town frightened her, but she was still highly skeptical. For now she would assume the culprit to be human.

“Okay, you can help. But not today. I need to get home early , or my dad will worry. I say we all meet at the library after school tomorrow.” Kristen nodded, and the plan was set. After that, the day was uneventful. They finished lunch with few words, and the two remaining periods went by quickly.

When the school day ended, Robby Walked with them on their way home. Emma liked that. He wasn’t the same as he’d been, but she felt now that she had a small part of her friend back. They chatted about old times, and did some catching up. He was not as happy as before, but more cheerful now than he’d been at lunch. His path split from hers shortly after Kristen’s had, and she want the rest of the way home alone.

When she got home, dinner wasn’t made yet, and her father was once more watching the TV. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to what had happened now. She walked inside quietly, and he turned to see her. He shut off the TV hurriedly, and went to the fridge. ”Oh sorry about that, Ems, I was just watching the news again,” He said in a rushed sort of voice. “The police are supposed to announce the message on the victim’s back later today. I lost track of time waiting.” He pulled microwave dinners out, and put them in the microwave to heat. “Don’t worry, they’ll be ready soon.”

Emma went to the family room near the kitchen, and sat down on the small sofa. She picked up a remote from the arm rest, and turned on the TV. The Anchorman rang out from the set, and began to announce the promised update.

“And in other news, police just released this chilling message, found carved into the back of the morning’s murder victim, Rebbecca Marshal. ‘For many years I have lied dormant within the land, but no more. Heed this warning, and leave this holy land, or suffer the consequences. The next to die will be the young, so secure in the protection of their parents.’ The authorities continue to investigate, and are urging all children and teens to stay home after dark, and limit time spent without parental supervision.” The news anchor continued onto other news, and a new kind of fear began to fill her. The young would be next. What could that mean? Would it be a classmate? A friend maybe? Could it be Robby or Kristen? Was she next?

DimWest
January 15th, 2011, 10:44 PM
I thoroughly enjoyed it, your syntax and ability to keep the reader interested is quite good. Honestly though, it could use some revising, it was choppy at places and you overused a few words, and I remember misusage of the word "their", but that's all just technicalities. One or two of the responses were a little strange but overall the characters seemed like real people, and that's not easy to do. As a whole, I enjoyed the piece.

jj1027
January 18th, 2011, 08:18 AM
The next morning, she woke up to find her father awake for the second day in a row. It seemed like this might become the norm, but she didn't mind. It was good not to feel alone after last night's announcement. It had her nervous. So nervous in fact, that she agreed to let her father drive her to school. The news had shaken her up more than she let on. She was glad, however, not to pass Robby or Kristen, waiting for her at the corner. She didn't like to stand them up.


The car stopped in front of the school, and Emma gave her dad a hug before she got out of the car. She made her way into the schoolyard, and began to look for Kristen. The students were quiet for once. The news must have served to put a dampener on the gossip. She found Kristen relatively soon, and saw Robby standing off to her right, talking to Mike Randal. She never liked Mike, but then no one really did. He was never really nice, and liked to make mean jokes. She never knew why Robby hung out with him. Emma let out a sigh, and took her place next to Kristen. "Well, I guess everyone saw the news."


"Yeah," Kristen said. "I wonder what it means, 'The young are next to die.' Like, little five year old young, or our age young?" She was worried, and rightly so. After a moment, she continued. "My folks are worried too. I mean, my mom insisted on driving me in today."
"My dad did the same thing. He also said he'd pick you, me, and Robby up after school, and take us to the library. Still want to come?" She gave me a worried look, and Emma didn't blame her at all.
"I think I'm gonna pass, Em. Its not that I don't want to, but my folks want me home as soon as school's over. They wanted to pick me up, but they both work late." Her voice shook slightly as she spoke, and Emma could see how sacred she was. She gave her friend an encouraging nod.


"Hey, I don't mind. Me and Robby will do some look around, and tell you what comes up." At this, Kristen seemed greatly relieved, and Emma was glad to see that. Just then, the bell Rang and they all shuffled into the school. Classes that day passed slowly that day, dragging on for what felt like forever. Robby sat with them again for lunch, but was quieter than the day before. She saw why by looking about the lunch room. A few tables away from them, Mike Randall was glaring at the back of Robby's head.


Mike never liked Emma. In fact he despised her more than almost any other student. The reason was simple, and everyone, including Emma, knew it. Emma was the smartest girl in school, and a lot smarter than Mike. He hated anyone who was better than him at anything. She thought it was stupid, but that didn't make it stop. At first she figured that he was the reason for Robby being so distant, but now that things were like this, she was sure it was only part of the problem. Still, he didn't seem happy that Robby was talking to her again. She turned to her food, and ignored him.


After school, Emma, Kristen, and Robby walked out to meet Mr. Ryland by his car. They said goodbye to Kristen, and got in the car, heading for the library. As they began to leave, the pair of friends watched Kristen, walking home alone. Mr. Ryland drove down the road, and they lost sight of her as they took a turn to the right. Emma turned to Robby as they approached the library. "So, here we are. You ready?"


Robby looked to her, and gave her a confident nod. They got out of the car, and walked into the large, quiet building. "Yeah, no problem. Also, when we finish here, can you come over to my house? I turned some stuff up, and it may help us out." As he spoke, he began to take books off the shelf.


She thought the request was strange, but it wasn't as if she'd never been to Robby's house before. "Okay. Sounds good." She went to the usual shelves, collecting the many books she'd been reading for weeks by now. She sat at her usual seat, and was soon joined by Robby, carrying old news papers and a few books on demons. Emma gave him an odd look, but didn't make mention of it. He took his seat, and laid out a few of the news papers.


For some time the two worked in silence, studying their materials in detail. After a while, Emma looked up at Robby, who was still nose deep in his book. "You getting anywhere?" She hadn't had much luck herself, and assumed his progress was similar. She was incorrect.


"I guess you could say that," he said, scanning an article in one particular paper. "In fact, I think we're about done here. With this info, and what I have at home, I think I have it figured out. Well partially." Emma nearly jumped out of her skin, but something stopped her. His voice was still full of concern, and that made her think that this wasn't over yet. "I say we head out. My house isn't far and I know a short cut."


Emma wasn't sure about walking all the way to Robby's at night, but she supposed that if she had Robby with her, it would be ok. "Sounds good. Let's go."


Robby got up, and began to walk, but suddenly stopped, and took on a nervous sort of look. "Hey, Emma, I think I should tell you. Things around my house are…different. I don't think I ever told you or Kristen, but my parents got a divorce a while back. Don't mind my dad, he's been in a foul mood since then." He walked on without looking back, and Emma followed him. Now she understood just one more reason he'd changed. But at the moment, there were more important things to worry about.


They walked along the sidewalk for a bit, but suddenly Robby lead her off the walkway, and between tow houses. "My house is just through here. I found this I while ago." She followed him, and the came out behind another row of houses. She noticed one to the right as Robby's. As they approached it, something to the left of Robby's house caught her eye. She could hardly make out what it was because it was dark, but as they drew closer, the horrible realization Dawned on her, and she let out a scream. Robby jumped in surprise, but then saw the thing as well.


Robby let out a shout, and took a few steps back. Emma hid herself behind him, shaking in terror. The two stood there for a minute, trying to come to terms with what was in front of them. Lying in the grass before them, behind the house next to Robby's, was a dead body, its blank eyes wide open, its throat slit, and a pentagram carved into it's stomach. The Silver Pine Demon had struck again.

Tripp
January 24th, 2011, 12:33 AM
Hi JJ,

I like your story and, for the most part, it kept my interest. I'm keen on reading more. As for my critique, I think you need to spell check these first, and also read over them. When you're done writing in your zone, take a break and come back to read it later with a fresh mind. Your writing is good, but these two simple tasks will help strengthen it.


Study your use of there and their. If you can substitute the word for "my" or "our," use their. It shows possession of something. Theirs will be plural, but it will never have an apostrophe. There’s has an apostrophe because it’s a contraction for “there is.”

“… never for more than a few moments like he had done here.” Only my opinion, but I think the use of “here” is out of context. Maybe try something like “… never for more than a few thoughts as demonstrated moments ago.”

You mentioned that Emma returned home to find her dad asleep in front of the TV, then in the morning she finds it strange that her dad has the TV on.

“… the M.O. was the same.” You have to assume your readers don’t know any abbreviations until introduced to them. You could either mention “modus operandi” first, and then stick with M.O; or, because it’s latin and you have to describe it and blablabla, either use it solely in conversation or find another way for the narrator to describe the Silver Pine Demon’s modus operandi.

“back round” is background

Hope it wasn't too harsh. Look forward to reading more!

Tripp

jj1027
January 24th, 2011, 04:11 AM
Thank you Tripp, this story is currently under revision, but I have more for you here. I used M.O. because more people understand it than the abbreviated form. I could take it out and explain, but it might sound like infodumping, or make the paragraph a little too wordy. I'm giving the reader benefit of the doubt, and hoping they can understand what it means. Either way, I said I had more story, so here it is.

Emma averted her eyes as Robby took a tentative step toward the body, trying to get a better look. Suddenly, he let out a gasp. "I know her! We need to get inside, now!" With that he grabbed Emma by the wrist and dragged her toward his house. "That was Ashley, Mike's ex girlfriend. I just need to confirm something, and then we get out of here. " Emma tried to get her had away from him, but he held it tight. In a few minutes, they were inside the house. They rushed past the chair where Mr. Greendale was sleeping, and into the hall, at the end of which was the door to Robby's room.

Robby and Emma rushed into Robby's room, disturbing a line of salt that laid across the doorway. "Wait here," Robby said, going to retrieve a hand written book from his dresser. Emma brushed her now bruised wrist, and watched Robby flip furiously through the diary before returning to her. "The names match! I know who the first Silver Pine Demon was!" Emma's eyes went wide, and Robby lead her to the bed where she sat down. "I started taking notes in this when Mike was telling me about this weird grand uncle he had. The guy was always walking in the woods around town, and he loved nature. But that's not the weird part. He knew all thirteen victims, and Dean Ardell too. He was on friendly terms with the whole town, and pretty much anyone would invite him to their home if he asked."

"So he would asked to come in, and them kill them?" She wasn't sure if she bought it quiet yet.

"Yeah. I had to check his name in the news paper, to see if he exists. Marcus Randal was close friends with some of the victims, and knew them all. But he committed suicide after Dean Ardell escaped. Mike said it was because his brother, Mike's granpa, was on to him. Yeah, the name matches!"

Emma looked at him curiously." So what's that mean?| That some ghost is killing people?" This was sounding fishier by the minute.

"No not quite, but this fits. I never told you how I knew about Kristen's singing teacher. Well, Mike paid me to follow her home. He said he wanted to know where to meet her outside of school, to ask her out. I never thought it would hurt. She'd just shut him down. And that's exactly what happened."

Emma Stood up at that moment, her eyes filled with shock. "Kristen's home alone right now! We have to get over there, before he gets her too!" She stood up, and ran to the door, but Robby Shouted for her to wait. He stood up and walked over to the doorway where she stood. He didn't look afraid anymore. He looked confident, like he knew what he had to do, and how to do it. He gave her a calming look, and walked out the doorway, motioning her to follow.

"Come on, Emma. I just need to get something from dad's room, and we can go." Emma followed Robby into Mr. Greendale's room, and watched as he pulled a gun from his dad's dresser drawer. She stared blankly at him for a moment, taken aback by the image of Robby holding a gun.

“Wha-what is that for?" She stammered, taking a step back. " What the hell do you plan to do with that?" He put the gun in his back pocket, and but a hand on her shoulder.
“Calm down, Emma. I don't want to use it, but if something goes wrong, I don't want either of us to die." His eyes were caring, and she couldn't bring herself to fear him. "Let's go. We need to make sure Kristen is ok." He walked past her, and she followed him through the hall, past the sleeping Mr. Greendale, and into the night.

It wasn't a short walk to Kristen's house, but it went quickly. The moon lit the neighborhood with a silvery glow, and Robby kept her from being scared by talking the whole way there. He talked to her about old times, about how sorry he was for being such a jerk to her and Kristen. Even though she was scared, Emma was happy for the walk there. She at last had the old Robby back. She didn't know how long it would last, but she never wanted it to end.

As the long walk came to an end, Emma scanned the houses, picking Kristen's out quickly. The lights were out, making Emma worry further. Robby told her not to worry, but she really couldn't help herself. The pair approached the silent house, and Robby knocked on the door. There was no answer, but Robby reasoned she was just sleeping. Emma tried the door, and found it was unlocked. A sickly, rotten smell filled the air as they entered. Robby stepped forward his hands outstretched, searching for a light switch. Suddenly, he stepped on something slippery, and fell heavily on the floor. Emma walked carefully in, and switched on the light. She gasped as the gruesome scene was unveiled.

Robby jumped to his feet in horror as he realized it was blood that he'd slipped in. There was blood all over the floor, leading from the entrance to behind the kitchen counter. Robby slowly, hesitantly, made his way toward the counter. Fear, worry, and hope all colored his face as he neared the counter. Emma followed him, a few feet behind. Moments later, Robby let out a gasp of surprise, and Emma Rushed forward.

The dead body down before them was not Kristen Milhorn, but Mike Randal. He had been stabbed repeatedly, and tried to fight back. A bloody knife laid near his hand. On his stomach, a pentagram had been carved.. Emma stared at him, not able to understand what had happened. Suddenly, a scream from behind her brought her back to reality. It was Robby. Slowly, numbly, Emma turned to see what had happened. What she saw made her scream.

Right before her eyes, Robby stood with a large steak knife protruding from his chest. His lips quivered, and he reached for the gun, but the killer took it and threw it to some far corner. Emma saw now who it was, but her brain refused to believe it. Holding the knife that was stuck in Robby's chest, and wearing the same warm smile that always brought Emma such happiness, was Kristen.

Emma couldn’t speak, and her breath caught in her throat. This is a dream, she thought, again and again. This sort of thing was not possible. It was absurd that Kristen, who she had known for so long, could kill people. Her mind rebelled against her sense, and the inner turmoil she felt held her still, even as Kristen began to walk forward, still smiling warmly and holding the knife she had used to kill Mike and Robby. On her side was a dark red blotch wrapped tightly with a towel. Emma wanted to run, but her feet refused to move. It was at that moment that she was sure she was going to die.

Kristen let out a small laugh, a sound that sent shivers down Emma’s spine. “Don’t be afraid, Em,” she said, in a conversational, friendly voice. “I’m not going to hurt you. I just wanted to thank you. After all, you were the one who made this all possible.” Emma’s eyes widen further, and terrified tears ran down her face. “I’ve wanted to do this for a while now, but I had no idea how. I owe it to you giving me the idea of using the Demon’s legend.” Kristen was not only inches from her, the knife still in her hand.