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aye_priori
January 18th, 2011, 07:27 PM
I tried to use limited/expansive language to define the essence of two drastically different characters/groups of characters. I additionally added a tense shift between present and past to add to this distinction.

The piece is entitled, "On The Letting Go Of String"

Any feedback would be great!

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The man sleeps. Alone. Suspended between two thick trees, cradled gently by a large worn hammock. His jet-black hair hangs like seaweed.

A pig, mud covered and curious, presses its stubby snout against one of the mans dangling arms. The man opens his eyes and glances toward the pig. His hand does not recoil at its touch, but greets the pig as a friend. He grazes its pointed ears, its hairy, mud splattered back, and tickles underneath its chin with a single finger.

The pig smiles. It moves closer to the man, resting its head against the side of the hammock, grinning.

The man continues to groom the pig. He pats its head lightly, twice. The man does not smile: his ironclad eyes are focused on the pig. His lips are pursed.

The man creeps his other hand into his leather bound belt and retrieves a short, dirt-covered knife. With one swift motion, the man jabs the sharp blade up into the neck of the pig.

A squeal echoes across the vast forest. Several birds flap their wings and flee.

Scarlet red blood oozes onto the mans hand. The mans eyes are focused. His lips are pursed.

4,360 meters off of the Earths surface

Were approaching the drop point! the captain yelled over the ruckus of the whirring helicopter blade, a large vein throbbing on his forehead, Everyone strapped on?! Parachutes?! Helmets?! Canteens?! The stubby cigar in his mouth bobbed up and down with each word.

Check! Check! Check!

WHAT WAS THAT?

Check, SIR!

Thats better! Weve got a big drop. Deploy shutes at 2,000 meters to be safe. Remember, this is a peaceful mission - do not use weapons unless provoked! He placed an envious finger on his .50 caliber pistol.

Excuse me, sir. I have, ahem, a quick question. A freckled, red headed man stepped forward.

The captain raised an eyebrow, Huh? What is it, Doc? he grunted from behind his cigar.

What are we to do in, um, event of a, well, contact?

The captain placed two sluggish fingers around the hem of his cigar and removed it from his mouth in a slow motion. Well, Doc. You got your little orders, your camera and your little notes dont yeh? Ive got mine. Lets stick to it.

The crew laughed and cheered.

But sir -

Look, the captain interjected, the mans been down there along near 30 years. We want to know: what in the hell is he doing? Whered he come from? Does he remember any language? Is the man even still a human? Were just here to protect you. Your supposed to be the one with the plan, buddy. He pressed a thick finger into the chest of the doctor, Its a peaceful mission, you got nothing to worry about.

I have specific, well, orders for tracking and analysis, he sputtered, patting a small video camera and a belt full of tools, but nothing for contact. Ahem, Sir.

Oh shut-up Doc. Were fine.

Yeah! Weve got guns, Doc! one crewmember shouted.

The crew cheered once more.

With a stern look, the captain glared at the joyous crew, Were lookin for an animal o sorts, but that doesnt mean youve got to become one in the process. His voice faded into the whir of helicopter blades. This is a peaceful mission.

Hey Capn, The helicopter pilot yelled under a thick, bristly mustache, were at the drop point.

Lets do this! the captain screamed, rapidly making a circular motion with his arm, appearing slightly deranged in the process, Go Go Go!

One by one they jumped out of the helicopter into the open air in a beautifully synchronized rhythm.

After his entire crew had disappeared, the captain looked down at his equipment. He systematically checked his parachute, his canteen and his helmet strap.

He took a deep breath, collected himself, edged toward the door, and flung himself out of the helicopter door to join his crew.

The rest of them were gazing in awe at the monstrous landscape as they plummeted towards the ground; roaring rivers, giant mountains, and the glorious Pacific Ocean in the distance. The Doc had his eye pressed tightly against the camera. But the captain kept his reserve. His eyes were focused downward into the maw of the forest.

The lush Brazilian Amazon loomed beneath them like a monster under a childs bed. The many dangers, seen and unseen; they had to be prepared.

And somewhere in there, a man, isolated beyond all conception.

He checked his wrist-watch, deployment in 321

Release shutes! he screamed to his crew with strained jaw.

Giant white fabric ballooned into the air. They immediately slowed; now hovering gently to the ground like leaves in the fall.

Somewhere in the forest.

The man smiles as he takes a bite out of the pig meat. Juices spill down the sides of his chin, trickling across his dark sand-paper beard. He grabs his knife and cuts off a large slab from the belly of the pig, tearing the sinewy meat away from its home.

A sharp cracking noise alerts the man. He whirls and picks up his bow. He loads an arrow into the bow and aims it into the unknown. The mans shoulders are tensed, his eyes dart madly about.

A spider monkey jumps from the limb of a tree to the ground, snapping a branch.

He lowers the bow and lets out a sigh. The mans shoulders curl back. He looks at his pile of pig-meat, then at the monkey. No need to kill more.

A second crack booms across the forest. The man tenses again, raising the bow. The spider monkey shrieks and falls over, dead.

It provoked me, right? a crewmember cackled, nudging the captain.

The captain looked up, a harsh look on his face. Looking beyond the murdered monkey, the aggression drained from his expression immediately. The captains stance tightened, cautiously gesturing his men to step back.

In a careful motion the captain raised his arms in the sky and dangled his pistol about a single finger.

We come in peace the captain declared, Friend. The crew pivoted to see a man, half nude, clutching a bow at his side.

Excuse me, ahem, sir, if I might interject. The freckled doctor squeaked.

The captain eyed the read head, Shut up and back away Doc.

The man raises the bow, aiming it square at the captains chest. The man pulls the bowstring back.

I need to document this, he piped, just wait while I get out the camera!

Looking at the bow, the captain shouted, Didnt cha hear? We come in peace!

The man pulls the bowstring back.

Got it!

The camera zoomed in closely on the face of the man. Through the lens, his eyes were focused on the tip of the arrow. His teeth were clenched together tightly.

Look, a monkeys a monkey. The captain grunted, kicking the dead spider monkey with his hefty combat boots, But we aint about to kill you he said, slowly lowering his arms. This pistol is only for animals. You aint an animal, are you?

The man pulls the bowstring back even farther.

The camera slowly panned over to the captain; he was not fearful, but simply frustrated. But no, there was more than frustration there. He was hesitant, too. As though he were holding something back.

Listen to me! Im here to HELP! WE he said, pointing to his comrades, are here to help. The captain lowered one arm all the way and extended it towards the man in a friendly gesture.

The man pulls the bowstring back even farther.

The camera zoomed out to observe the whole scene. The captain, his gun dangling loosely in his off hand and his other arm outstretched in greeting, returns the mans vicious glare with a look of pity. The captain retracted his hand. The man had extended the bowstring all the way, the arrow pointed directly at the heart of the captain.

Im not going to shoot you. The captain said.

The man let go of the string.
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InsanityStrickenWriter
January 19th, 2011, 06:45 PM
Pretty fantastic writing, though I have to say, I'd rather you didn't use the term 'doc'. I've heard it so many times on the various xbox and pc games that I've come to despise it... Of course, it may just be me who is annoyed by it :P

oarfish
January 19th, 2011, 11:00 PM
This is quite emphatic, a very enjoyable peice. I liked the confusion near the beginning, and the tension at the end was excellent.

garza
January 20th, 2011, 02:13 AM
When I saw you intended deploying chutes above six thousand feet I quit reading. A kid on the ground with a single shot .22 would kill them all before they got down from four thousand feet of slow fall. Have them leave the aircraft at two thousand metres, and deploy chutes below a thousand metres. How far below will depend on how they are trained. I've seen guys pull the string so low their chutes barely popped before they hit the ground.

The opening with the man and the pig was good. Follow through on that, and do some research on drops over potentially hostile territory.

crocky
January 23rd, 2011, 12:56 PM
Hi Aye Priori,
I'd certainly be interested to read more of this if I picked it up, although I think that there are a few factual mistakes that need to be cleared up. I agree garza, I instantly thought about people shooting up from the ground. Here are a couple of other things that caught my eye as I read:

Pigs (i.e. Sus scrofa) are not native to south america. The domesticated form has been introduced, and as a result of escapes some can be found wild. However, your story rests on the fact that this man has been isolated for years. If the place is that isolated is it likely that pigs that have escaped from human captivity would be there? The area does have a number of suidae species, including the giant peccary, a relative of the pig, that you could use.

Shutes should be chutes I think.

'do not use weapons unless provoked' provocation could really be anything, and as we don't know who these people are we don't know what might be considered provocation. Perhaps they should only use force if attacked?

'We want to know: what in the hell is he doing? Where’d he come from? Does he remember any language? Is the man even still a human? We’re just here to protect you. Your supposed to be the one with the plan, buddy.” He pressed a thick finger into the chest of the doctor, “It’s a peaceful mission, you got nothing to worry about.”
I don't buy this sentence from the officer. If they are just there to protect the researcher, and he has such clear contempt for the research, why would he reel off the researchers aims? 'Your' should be 'you're' in this sentence.

On this next point I have no experience so if I'm wrong please ignore me! Would the officer in charge really shout to the other men when they should open their parachutes? This seems a little on the crazy side to me - what if he passes out or gets injured. Surely the other men would have trouble hearing him through the rushing air?

'The captain looked up, a harsh look on his face. Looking beyond t..' two too many looks in here.

Great work!

KMPark
April 14th, 2011, 01:43 AM
First off, I really love the way you organized the characters in this. It definitley of has that "90's suspense movie" vibe, if you know what I mean. The writing style is lovely, the way you described the characters was just detailed enough that I can close my eyes and picture what they look like, but not so much detail that I got bored reading about them. The only thing I found lacking was the setting, maybe it's just my own tastes but I didn't feel like the surroundings were illustrated enough, one thing I try to do in my writing (and have noticed in other writing) is to try to make the reader feel like they're standing right there along side the characters, providing enough details to get an overall sense of place and their own mind can fill in the gaps.

What I like most about this story is that you don't really know who the antagonist or protagonist is; is it the doctor? the man? or the captain? There seems to be something fishy about all of them.

Gravehound
April 16th, 2011, 07:22 AM
It was quite good, rather liked it to be honest.