View Full Version : Devil Incarnate

December 13th, 2011, 01:02 PM
Something to read as a lead up to Christmas or in one go over the break.
OK I’m on a bit of a journey. I’ve been looking at the overlap of various genre and been playing around with this short for a while as a way to explore. A mix of Crime, Horror, Mystery maybe even a bit of Humour, I hope you like how it pans out, especially the twist at the end.

Presented in Ten Parts.

Devil Incarnate (part one)

Matt Lingam knew he was becoming obsessed. There was plenty of other work to be concentrating on. Yet the intangibles of solving this case and getting a result kept him hooked. Back at his desk, Matt dropped heavily into his chair and switched on the computer. He sat drumming his fingers waiting for the damn thing to start up. As soon as the windows access prompt appeared, he entered his password. Then he waited again while his selected program loaded. After a few minutes, it came up displaying his last entry.

The phone rang in the outer office. However, the character of Inspector Matt Lingam ignored it. Someone else could answer the damn thing. He was too busy scanning his last entries looking for anything he might have missed. After several rings the phone stopped. A few moments later, the head of Detective Paul Harrison appeared around the doorframe to Matt’s office.

“Think we got another one, Gov.”

Matt didn’t bother to even look up or make any answer.

“Ravensmead road, down by the old canal.” Harrison added.

“OK.” Matt sighed. “Well I guess we’d better go and put in an appearance.”

Inspector Matt Lingam stood up and slowly walked across to the door. Reaching behind, he took his coat from off the peg. Then he followed Detective Harrison across the outer office. Stepping into the corridor, they walked along to the stairwell. Then both went down the stairs to the basement car park. Inspector Lingam waited while the young detective went to fetch the car. As it pulled up alongside, Matt opened the door and slid into the passenger seat.

Ten minutes later, they were approaching the Ravensmead road turning. Coming from the High Street Detective Harrison made a right. Driving down only a short distance, he pulled over and parked. Leaving the car, both men walked to where a police constable stood controlling a small crowd. Matt and Paul had to push their way through to the erected barricade. It blocked off the alleyway set between two rows of terraced houses.

Detective Harrison flashed his identification and spoke to the constable. The barrier was moved allowing both men into the alleyway. At the far end, the path opened on to waste ground. The strip of land lay between the back gardens of the terraced houses and the old canal. Inspector Lingam made a cursory glance to both right and left. The body lay over on the left close to a section of broken down fencing. Someone had fetched a blanket and thrown it over the corpse. The Inspector noted that it still left the legs below the knees exposed. Nearby a woman constable was taking notes while conversing with an old man. He was dressed in a drab and heavy looking grey overcoat.

“Forensics not here yet?” Inspector Lingam made the statement in a low growl of a voice. He half turned and frowned at his young detective with a questioning glare. “Guess you’d better check if anybody’s made the call.”

Detective Harrison turned and hurried back up the alleyway. Inspector Matt Lingam looked again at the old man in the grey overcoat. Matt assessed that he was probably the one who had found the body. Walking casually over with his hands in his coat pockets, Matt stood quietly listening to what was being said.

“So you say it was just before ten to eight that you came across the deceased.” He heard the woman constable question.

“Yea, that’s right. It would have been about then,” answered the old man. His eyes were staring down at the blanket covering the body. “See I always comes this way in the morn’in, goes to fetch me paper and fags.”

“You can be that precise about the time.” The woman constable questioned again.

“Always leave just afore quarter to eight. That’s during the weekdays like. Me times as regular as clockwork,” replied the old man.

“Well thank you Tom, Mr. Hardacre, and just to confirm your address, you live at number fifteen, Ravensmead.” Tom responded by nodding his head. “Then I guess that will be all for now.” The woman constable was suddenly aware of Matt Lingam’s presence. “Oh! Unless the Inspector wants a word.”

Matt shook his head. Then just as Tom Hardacre was about to move off, he asked. “Number fifteen, which one would that be exactly.” The old man pointed to one of the houses. The Inspector judged it to be a couple of doors down from where the corpse now lay.

“Mm! So your back bedroom overlooks the canal.” Matt spoke more in a whisper as if talking to himself. Then turning to face Tom Hardacre, he said in a louder voice. “Err! Don’t suppose you might have heard anything going on last night?”

“Me. No.” Tom said shaking his head. “I goes to bed early see, and before you asks, me bedrooms in the front overlooking the road.” The old man then paused and looked across at the Inspector. “Mind you, there’s them bunch of young’uns. Some of them were hanging abouts here just af’er dark. You could ask them.”

“Thanks, I probably will.”

Matt still with his hands in his pockets, watched as the old man sauntered off in the direction of the alleyway. The woman constable excused herself and then followed a short distance behind. Detective Harrison coming back down the alley glanced first at Hardacre then smiled at his colleague in uniform. Half-turning as she passed Paul Harrison showed more than a mild interest in the female constable. The detective then quickened his pace as he walked across the waste ground to join The Inspector.

Standing with Matt Lingam at the side of the corpse, Harrison announced. “Forensics is on their way Gov.”

“That so, don’t supposed you checked if there’s a bloody police doctor on his way.”

By the look on the young detective face, it confirmed he hadn’t. Matt sighed and shook his head slowly from side to side. God he thought, did he have to do all the thinking around here.

“Yes sir, I’ll see to it.” Detective Harrison replied as he backed away. Then quickly legged it back to the alleyway, off to make another call.

Matt stood eyeing the blanket covering the body. He bent down and pulled back the edge to expose the head. Laying on her side the young woman was turned towards the Inspector. Even with the long strands of hair half covering her face he could tell she was pretty. Matt made a mental note. The eyes were closed as if she lay in a deep and peaceful sleep. Pulling the blanket back further there were no scratch marks or bruising on the hands or exposed parts of the forearms. No evidence she had tried to fight off her attacker. There were no obvious marks of strangulation around the area of the throat as far as he could see. Only in one spot did the Inspector observe a small reddish mark, but he couldn’t be sure. There were no further indications that might explain the nature of her death. Matt had seen a few murder victims over the years. By the look of the girl’s skin tone, she had lost a lot of blood. Yet there did not seem to be any blood on the surrounding ground. The Inspector surmised that her death had happened elsewhere. As he straightened up, Paul Harrison was back standing by his side. Both men looked down on the half-uncovered corpse.

“Doc’s already been called, he’s on his way.” Detective Harrison said, a little out of breath.

“Better cover her up again until he arrives.” Matt gestured, waving his hand.

Matt Lingam turned and walked over to the canal bank. He left Detective Harrison carefully pulling the blanket back over the deceased. As Harrison joined the Inspector, Matt glance back at where the body lay. He wondered why the young woman’s body hadn’t been simply dumped in the water of the canal.

A few moments later, the Inspector looked up to see the woman constable emerge from the alleyway. She was leading a tall well-dressed gent with a doctor’s bag. Matt Lingam and Paul Harrison turned and walked over to join them as they approached the corpse.

“Hi Doc, I’m DI Matt Lingam. Try not to move anything. The forensic team haven’t arrived yet.”

“The names Appleby, Doctor John Appleby.” The tall person introduced himself without even looking across at the Inspector.

Bending down Doctor Appleby pulled back the blanket to examine the body. He was on the opposite side to that which Inspector Lingam had looked. First, he checked under the armpit and then in the ear with a thermometer, then looking up at the Inspector he asked. “Don’t suppose you know what the lowest temperature was around here last night?”

“Oh! Between seven or six Celsius, no lower Doc.” Detective Harrison replied.

“A mind of information my detective.” Matt Lingam said the words without hiding the hint of annoyance in his voice.

“Well in that case I’d say she died around midnight. That’s give or take an hour or so. I won’t be able to give you a more precise time. Not until I have completed the Post Mortem analysis of the stomach contents.”

“Yea, thanks for that Doc. I haven’t had my breakfast yet.” Matt Lingam replied sarcastically.

Turning, he walked away indicating that Detective Harrison should follow. Out of earshot and speaking in a whisper, the Inspector said. “When the Docs finished, I want a word with the woman constable. I don’t recall her name?”

“Melanie Walters, sir,” Detective Harrison replied. “She’s the acting local community officer. This side of town as you can see is a bit run down, sir. There’s been a few issues, but by all accounts she’s on good relations with most of the residents.”

At that point, the forensics team arrived and Paul Harrison went off to assist. Matt Lingam stood alone by the edge of the canal taking time to think. This was the third incident in the last eight days. The other two were both young women discovered in similar circumstances. The first was on Ditchly common, the second in Nutley Park. Now a third here by the old canal, all of them within half a mile of one another.

QDOS :santa:

Note: My English spelling is UK not US.

December 14th, 2011, 08:10 PM
Well I guess you did not actually ask for a critique but you get one any way, for free no less. My main thought after reading this was that you were excessively wordy at times. For example, your third paragraph seems awkward as you included far to much detail about getting ready to get in a car, going to a car and getting into the car. At the end of all this what has been accomplished? Your characters are now in a car. It seems as if this part was to much real life story telling that is often skipped in most books.

December 16th, 2011, 11:38 AM
I think your descriptions are good, but you use too many. I got bogged down and couldn't finish it. My suggestion, cut the word count down by 1/3 or so, and then repost. I like your writing style, and I think you have good potential here, but for now it's too wordy. Leslie

December 16th, 2011, 11:42 AM
P.S. I almost forgot to say, I really love the first line. Immediately I was wondering, "hmm, why is he obsessed? So many possible answers..." It made me want to read on. :)

January 8th, 2012, 11:57 AM
In the run up to Christmas my aim was to post each day another part to my story. A few hours after my first posting we suffered a power outage. A few moments later a power surge took out our phone line, blew my broadband router and sapped the motherboard of my new six weeks old computer. Power was restored the next day, but it has taken three and a half weeks to restore our landline and deliver a replacement broadband router. The Power Energy Company agreed to pay the full price of a replacement PC, which was delivered yesterday. Having had experience in IT support, I always keep regular backups of my work to an external drive. Apart from a few notes and downloadable apps, there was nothing really important lost. So after spending a day loading applications and configuring my replaced PC I’m feel I’m finally getting back on track.

xanthreterra and literateparakeet thanks for your comments. I am pleased you picked up on the early overemphasis of the actions carried out by the characters. I promise you this is deliberate, but will only became apparent once you have read the final part to this short and understood the twist in this tale.

I apologise for the delay, but here is part two. The rest to follow over the next few days.

Devil Incarnate(part two)

Although not yet confirmed, Inspector Lingam knew instinctively this was his murderer’s third victim. The similarities was evidence of the killers modus operandi. Autopsy reports on the first and second bodies, showed nearly half their normal blood content was missing. Yet no evidence of blood spillage was found at either of the locations where the bodies were discovered. Unfortunately, as with this one, Matt’s only conclusion, each victim had been lured to some yet undisclosed place, where the killing had been carried out.

The Inspector in considering the similarities was trying to identify a motive.The bodies left fully clothed, and confirmed by the autopsies ruled out any sexual attack. As to the extraction of the victim’s blood, puncture marks had been found to the jugular vein. These facts alone, presented Matt with several harrowing possibilities of a killer with a sadistic streak. In dismissing the irrational, there was only one documented account that drew any parallels. Matt was a collector of Second World War memorabilia. He especially liked reading books on the subject. One story he recalled was of the German army as it retreated from the Russian advances in 1944. Their medical staff had been in desperate need of blood to carryout operations on their injured soldiers. They resorted to using captured civilians, mostly women and children as donors. The method used was drawing the blood directly from the jugular vein. In several instances, they had literally bled their victims to death.

The Inspector was mentally chewing over these facts as Melanie Walters approached. Deep in thought, he appeared not to notice her. The constable put her hand to her mouth and made a polite cough.

“You wished to see me, sir.”

“Oh! Yes, Constable, the old man.” Matt replied.

“Tom Hardacre.”

“Yea, he mentioned something about a group of teenagers.”

“They’re not all bad, mostly it’s high spirits sir,” answered Constable Walters somewhat defensively. “That’s not to say at times their actions haven’t generated a bit of ill feeling amongst the older generation. But when I’ve spoken to the kids, their main complaint is they have nowhere to go.”

“Nowhere to go.” The Inspector repeated.

“Yes sir, you see there’s no youth club for the early to mid teens. The older ones go off to the pubs or a nightclub, that’s if they have any money. A few of them hold down jobs, but most families around here live on benefits and charity handouts. Whatever money they can get hold of, including a bit of pilfering, drug pushing and the like, they spend on furthering their bad habits.”

“I think I get the picture,” said Inspector Lingam. “In the main the parents are either boozed up or too high on drugs to care. That’s still no excuse to leave their kids roaming the streets. It just seeds another generation of the gang culture that exists in this neighbourhood.”

For the next few moments, Inspector Matt Lingam remained silent as he recalled details of the first two murder victims and their backgrounds. He was beginning to wonder if the three dead girls were the victims to a new form of gang killing. Taking a quick glance over his shoulder, he noticed the forensic team were erecting a tent over the deceased’s body. The Inspector gave a nod in their direction.

“Did you know her, is she a local girl?”

“Well yes and no, sir. That is I didn’t know her personally, but yes, I’ve seen her around.” Melanie Walters hesitated, as if trying to recall any further details. “I have to say, I don’t recall her hanging out with any of the local groups, sir.”

“The addresses of the other two girls, they lived only a couple of streets away. I expect they probably grew up and went to the same schools together.” Matt Lingam remarked.

“Yes sir, if I recall, they were a few months apart, both sixteen. But I’d say this one was a bit older sir.” Melanie Walters replied.

“Yea, unfortunately that still leaves me none the wiser as to who carried out these murders.”

Forensic had completed the first part of their work. The deceased was being stretchered out in a black body bag. Both the Inspector and the constable Walters turned to watch. The stretcher-bearers walked with their load across to the alleyway and then disappeared from sight.

After they had gone, Melanie Walters was the first to speak. “The other girls sir, I can at least confirm they were part of the gang of youngsters, the one Tom Hardacre spoke about. I’m sure they used to meet in the derelict house at the far end of Hobs Lane. For a while, I guess they used it as an unofficial clubhouse.”

“I think I know the place, it backs onto the common. Some while ago we cleared out some druggies using it as a squat.”

Melanie Walters held back unsure whether she should make any further comment. The Inspector being shrewd suspected there was more to say.

“I guess you have a reason for mentioning the place.”

“Well, it’s just there have been a few rumours, sir.”

“Rumours,” repeated the Inspector slowly shaking his head.

“Well funny things goings-on up there at night. Some locals say it’s haunted, inhabited by the ghost of a young girl.” Melanie Walters laughed nervously. “Of course, I don’t believe in that sort of thing myself. I mean it’s all got to be a bit of nonsense, hasn’t it sir.”

Inspector Lingam smiled back at the police constable. He was intrigued by the information, but not sure where her train of thought might be leading. Matt recalled there had been strange statements made by the squatters. The ones he’d cleared out two years back. At the time, the Inspector had thought them off their heads. They were addicts after all. However, their stories rather supported what Melanie Walters had just suggested.

“I think you had better tell me what you’ve heard. Then let me be the judge of what’s nonsense or not.” Matt replied in acknowledging Melanie’s remarks.

“Well some of the oldies have told me back in the thirties, the owners held séances and the like. They mentioned the ghost of a young girl. She’s like a bad omen. If you see her, you’re marked for death. They reckon there’s a body entombed in the basement. On a full moon, the girl summons it to go looking for victims to suck out their blood.”

“Oh! I see, so that’s where this was all leading. You think we might have our own home-grown Vampire running amuck.” It was the Inspectors turn to give something of a nervous laugh. “Well I doubt if such a creature exist. But if he does he’s not going to get away with it, not on my patch.”

QDOS :shock:

January 9th, 2012, 03:10 AM
I didn't read part two yet but part one was interesting.

January 9th, 2012, 10:51 AM
Hmmm, I'm interested and while I agree with the editing suggestion of part 1, I'll hold off to see where the rest of the story goes before making a plot/ character analysis just yet. A couple nits in the meantime:

Part One:
A mind of information- The saying is a 'mine of information'

Part Two:
The similarities were evidence of the killer's modus operandi.

Well I doubt if such a creature exists. But if he does he’s not going to get away with it, not on my patch.

January 9th, 2012, 11:36 AM

Thanks for your comments cassie30 and Baba Yaga for my typo’s. Although as its spoken dialogue in Part One, I can get away with it.

Devil Incarnate(part three)

It was early evening and Matt Lingam stood hesitating on the steps of St Mary’s Church. The Inspector wasn’t entirely sure why he was making this call. Father Daniels was an old friend of the family and maybe it was because of his knowledge of the neighbourhood. If anybody had his ear to the undercurrents of what was going on in the community the good father would know. Having made his decision, Matt entered to see the old priest down near the front pews. He was busy going about his usual checks and tidying up the payer books before heading off for his supper. A casual glance around revealed that there were still one or two early evening worshippers present.

Father Daniels heard the fall of footsteps and looked up to see Matt Lingam approaching. “Matthew my boy, long time no see. What a pleasant surprise.”

“Yes Father, could I have a word.”

“Well of course my son any time, what can I do for you?” Father Daniels replied.

The Inspector looked from side to side with his eyes. “A very private word, if I may.”

“Oh! I see. Well I’m just about done here. Perhaps you should come back with me to the rectory.”

“Yes, thanks I would like that.”

The two left by the vestry door at the side of the church. They walked in silence the short path to Father Daniels residence, a large detached Edwardian house.

Inside Father Daniels led the way into his study. “Now my boy, what is this all about?”

“You’ve no doubt heard about the two local girls. One found up on the common and the other in the local park. Well now we have a third, found down by the old canal.”

“Another found this morning, yes I heard. I have prayed for all their souls.”

“What we haven’t released is the nature of their deaths.” The Inspector paused choosing his words. “The first two bodies and the third confirmed by the autopsy this afternoon, had all lost a lot of blood. Yet no major injuries or inflictions had been made. The only evidence as to where their blood might have been extracted were small incisions to the main artery in the neck.”

On hearing Matt’s news, Father Daniels who had been standing by his chair sat down abruptly. After a few moments of silence, he looked across at Matt Lingam. He said just two words, “Chigwell House,” and then fell into a brooding silent.

“Chigwell House,” the Inspector repeated. “Funny that’s the second time today the derelict property at the end of Hobs Lane has been brought up in conversation.”

For perhaps the first time in his life, Matt Lingam realised that the normally jovial Farther Daniels had a more sombre side to his nature. A dark and somewhat mysterious atmosphere descended upon the room. Matt seating himself, stared at the figure opposite him and waited for some form of explanation.

It seemed a long time before Father Daniels raised his head to returned Matt’s stare. “I wish you hadn’t told me.”

Somewhat taken aback by Father Daniels words, Matt Lingam replied. “I don’t understand.”

“No, you have no reason to, but the new road works. I prayed it wouldn’t come to this, that they wouldn’t disturb the place.” Father Daniels paused and sat clenching his hands before continuing. “Chigwell House, it hasn’t always been called that you know. The house, the site on which it stands has something of a chequered history. My advice to you would be to steer well clear of the place.”

“Well all you’ve done now is to raise my curiosity. I think you had better tell me what you know.” Matt replied with a questioning frown.

QDOS 8-)

January 10th, 2012, 02:31 AM
The writing style itself is very nice, however, the beginning and some parts after are a tad choppy, and could use rephrasing. Other than that, your build up of suspense is nice, and the setting up of mood and environment especially so.

January 10th, 2012, 12:11 PM
Hi Nevermore - thanks for reading. The quirky nature especially at the beginning is somewhat deliberate. All will be revealed at the end in part ten.

Devil Incarnate(part four)

Father Daniels returned Matt’s glare with a look of deep concern. “Well if you insist. The site in the seventeen hundreds was originally occupied by Ditchly prison. There may have been a church or sacred burial ground even before that. Later, during part of Queen Victoria’s reign, it was used as a workhouse for the poor. Then towards the end of the eighteen nineties, a fire broke out. The place was completely gutted, burnt to the ground.”

“Father, how do you know all this?” Matt Lingam asked.

“Some came from the parish records. Then there are notes written by my predecessors. And my own research into what I have read over the intervening years.” The Father gestured to the several bookcases surrounding the walls of his study. “I’ve been here for what, more than thirty years. I’ve had plenty of time to read, especially during weekday evenings.”

“You said the prison, or was it the workhouse, had been burnt down.”

“Yes, it being one and the same. It was left that way until the nineteen-twenties. That is when the Chigwell family bought the land and had the new house erected. They should have left well alone. I guess it was the new building work which started all the present day troubles.”

“Troubles, what sort of troubles,” asked Matt Lingam.

“The night-watchman and his daughter, I guess they were the first. Although if you were to investigate records further back, I’m sure there might have been others.”

Father Daniels paused to reflect on the first day he had met Matt Lingam. It must have been shortly after he began his duties in the parish. He had announced his intention to reinstate a junior boys choir. Matt’s mother had brought the young Lingam along for the auditions. It was all relevant to what he was about to ask next.

“How’s your faith my boy?”

“That’s a strange question to ask.” Matt replied.

For the second time Matt had been thrown by the choice of Father Daniels words. There passed several lengthy moments with both men seemingly locked in deep thought.

“Of what I’m about to reveal to you, faith may be your only means of salvation.”

“OK what’s this all about, if its Ghosts and Vampires, I’ve heard it already?” Matt replied.

“Oh! I expect you have, but what if I told you there are some compelling coincidences.”

“Come on, we’re in the 21st Century, even you can’t believe...” Matt stopped in midsentence at the sight of Father Daniels raised hand.

“There are something’s in Heaven and Earth my son, which can only be explained by the acceptance that evil exists.”

There followed a short brooding silence where neither spoke. Then Matt asked.

“You mentioned a night-watchman?”

“Yes, it was the building of the new house and towards the latter stages of its construction. A night watchman was hired to guard the property. According to the newspaper report of the time, the Chigwell’s thought it better to engaged someone from the neighbourhood. By their reckoning, he would warn off the local criminals rather than lose his job.” Father Daniels paused momentarily. “Anyway, this watchman had a teenage daughter who brought him his supper each evening. Then one night she and her father went missing. Three days later, they found the watchman dead in the cellars of the house with his daughter. Their deaths were never explained. However, the face of the night-watchman was said to be a terrible sight. At the time, some assumed he’d died of grief in finding his dead daughter.”

“Let me guess, the girl sounds like the rumoured ghostly vision mention to me by WPC Walters.” Matt remarked.

“Ah! You always were quick off the mark,” replied Father Daniels.

“You said the night-watchman and his daughter were the first.”

“Yes that’s right. One of my predecessors, newly appointed came to the parish in the mid nineteen thirties. It was not long after he had taken up his duties when he was summoned to the Chigwell House. It was following a big party. In those days, it had become fashionable to invite a medium and hold a séance. By all accounts, it was quite an experience. A ghostly figure of a young woman appeared and then a number of unpleasant things started to happen. As parish priest, he was requested to perform an exorcism.”

“Wow! Father, if I didn’t know you any better. This sounds like the gossip from your parishioners. Either that or you’ve been reading too many ghost stories of late.”

“Make fun of me if you wish. But that’s not all by a long chalk.”

“OK, I have some facts of my own.” Matt replied. “Like the Chigwell house has been empty since it was vacated at the beginning of World War II.”

“Then you should also check out some past newspaper reports. A V2 landed in January forty-five, two streets away in Rathbone Gardens. It took out six houses where it came down. The ground shock was so bad it caused damage to houses even at the far end of Hobs Lane. There was a follow up newspaper article. It reported strange lights coming from the Chigwell House on the same night as the bombing. When the premises were checked out, they found the bodies of two teenage girls. They were the ones thought to have been obliterated in the blast by the V2.”

“Did it say how they died? I mean so far this is all somewhat speculative, Father.”

“I can quote others. In the late seventies, just before I came to take over the parish. The bodies of three young women were found up on Ditchly common. Quite close to Chigwell house. At the time, it was thought they had overdosed on drugs. The strangest thing was it happened during the time when they were laying that new gas main. If I remember rightly, I’m sure it serves among others the houses in Hobs Lane.”

“If I understand you Father, you’re suggesting this house and all these deaths are in some way linked.”

“Yes, that’s exactly it. Whenever there’s a disturbance close to the vicinity of Chigwell House, well it triggers these events. I don’t know how you would define it, but something, something evil is let loose.”

“Now don’t get me wrong Father, but in this day and age, evil spirits and all that. This is all becoming a bit too farfetched for my liking.”

“Is it that you can’t, or don’t want to believe in evil, Matt.” Father Daniels said keeping his eyes on the Inspector.

“No. I’m not saying that. Yet if there is a connection then it has to be something more, more rational.”

Matt Lingam tried to review his past experiences or what he’d read that might give an explanation. Some that even to the Inspector had at the time seemed quite outlandish. Yet one thought did make for a very interesting line of investigation.

“OK, I read this article on biological attack weapons. The sort of thing the government is always pretending their not developing. What if some nerve agents or bacteria substances got dumped. There again what if some occur naturally, then for arguments sake these ground disturbances release the substances. Those infected, suffer some sort of temporary mental disorder, creating hallucinogenic states of mind. Maybe even makes them think that they’re Vampires.”

“Now you’re just toying with me.” Father Daniels pointed his finger at the Inspector. “Mark my words, there’s something sinister if not downright evil about the Chigwell property.”

“So what do you propose, we burn it down again.” Matt suggested.

QDOS :cool2:

January 10th, 2012, 01:36 PM
I've read all four parts and, although I wasn't initially hooked, I found myself getting more and more into it as it goes along. I found the beginning (as Nevermore put it) a little choppy and overdetailed to flow well, however, that seems to pass by the second part (so I assume you're writing like that deliberately at the start). I think from what I've seen of your characters and dialogue that both are strong and keep the story moving forward at a good pace. As the characters have mostly just talked to each other so far the believable dialogue makes them more believable too. This is progressing well, and I suppose it's almost time for some action sequences.

January 11th, 2012, 10:06 AM
Hi Higurro - thanks for reading just a tad more before the action you’re looking for begins.

Devil Incarnate (part five)

The Vicar of St Mary’s raised himself from his chair. Walking slowly, he crossed the room to an old desk in the corner. Pulling open a drawer, he removed a small wooden box.

“I have something to show you,” replied Father Daniels.

Coming back across the room, he held the box out for the Inspector to take. Matt Lingam took it wearing a somewhat bemused expression. Opening the lid, he stared at the contents. It held an eight-inch wooden stake of polished oak together with a small handgun. At the back, in line with the hinge connecting the lid was a row of six silver bullets.

Matt was about to make comment when there came a loud knock from the direction of the front door. It startled Matt to the point he almost dropped the box. Both Father Daniels and the Inspector turned to the sound of the second knock. Then the knocks continued to fall. The frequency inferring there was some urgency as to the nature of their caller.

Father Daniels gave a shake of his head to show that he had not a clue to whom it might be. Their conversation halted by the noise, both men stepped out into the hall. Father Daniels went forward to open the front door. There in the rectory porch stood a wretch of a woman in obvious distress.

“Come in, come on in Mrs. Roche,” Father Daniels said, and beckoning with his hand.

As the woman stepped into the light of the hallway, Matt saw what he thought to be an old woman. Later he was to learn she was only in her mid thirties. She had a lean withered figure. The results from heavy smoking, drink and drug abuse. Each had taken their toll. Yet still there lingered a hint of the beautiful young woman she once might have been. Matt felt a deep pity for her.

“Father its Veronica,” said the woman. “We’ve had the most God-awful row, and then she stormed out of the house.” The woman raised her clenched fists in the air as if to throw a punch, and then burst into tears. “That child is so wilful. I have tried to keep her away from them, but I fear it will all lead to no good. The Devil will take her, just like her father.”

“Yes, yes calm yourself my dear.” Father Daniels guided the woman to a chair in his study and made her sit-down. “There now, just take awhile to relax. I’m sure we can sort this out.”

After a slight hesitation, the good Father turned his back on Mrs. Roche and nodded to Matt that he should join him back in the hall. He stood in a position so he could keep an eye on the seated woman through the open doorway .

The priest spoke in a whisper to Matt. “Mrs Roche and her husband both became drug addicts back in the nineties. The woman has two daughters. The father died of an overdose several years back. Since then the poor woman has tried hard to keep herself and her daughters straight. She told me how proud she was of the older one getting a job, a proper job in retail. However, the younger one, Veronica, she has been playing truant from school. The child has turned out to be a bit more of a handful.”

“Being brought up round here, I am not surprised. What with the pressure from her peers, I would have thought she could hardly avoid it,” replied Matt.

“I’ll have another word with Mrs. Roche in a minute, when she’s calms down.” Father Daniels said rubbing his forehead.

QDOS 8-)

January 11th, 2012, 11:55 AM
Good stuff again, though I might simplify "Then the knocks continued to fall. The frequency inferring there was some urgency as to the nature of their caller." to something like "The knocks continued urgently." I almost wonder if this section is slightly too long altogether, bearing in mind the amount that actually happens. Perhaps being more economical with the words would keep the pace firing along. As it is, it's only a minor ciriticism.

January 12th, 2012, 10:50 AM
Devil Incarnate (part six)

It was now late evening and Matt stood beside the police car at the end of Hobs Lane. A short distance behind them was the last of the terraced houses. There was a single street lamp. The light by which, revealed the heavy wrought iron gates set across the drive of Chigwell House.

Following the talks with Mrs. Roche, several phone calls had been made. Then came visits to some of Mrs. Roche’s neighbours. One or two confirmed hearing the front door slam and seeing Veronica Roche stomping off down the road. There followed a check of the nearby streets. Inspector Lingam and Father Daniels questioned several groups of youths hanging around the street corners and alleyways. One or two individuals had seen Veronica Roche. In the end, their best guess was Veronica had been heading in the direction of Chigwell House. It was thought she had arranged to meet someone.

Matt Lingam walked forward and pushed on the left-hand gate. It did not budge at first, but putting more of his weight behind it, the gate suddenly gave way and swung open. The Inspector stepped into the driveway followed by Father Daniels and Detective Paul Harrison. The trio’s footsteps crunched loudly on the gravel as they walked towards the steps of the front entrance. Matt stopped and looked up at the impressive solid oak door.

After Father Daniels conversation earlier in the evening, Matt had to admit, the place now gave him the creeps. Nothing on Earth would normally have brought him here, especially at this deadly hour. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck begin to rise. Matt waited several long moments, hesitant to enter. If it wasn’t for the missing girl…

Taking a deep breath he mounted the steps, Matt could see that the door was not fully closed. Reaching out with his hand, he gave it a light push. Effortlessly the door swung back, its old hinges giving an eerie squeal. The doorway opened into a large spacious hall. Picked out by their torch beams was an impressive double staircase that joined at a central landing.

“Do we keep together or split up?” asked Paul Harrison nervously.

“For the present we all keep together, don’t you agree Father?” Matt Lingam replied.

“I think that is the best policy, at least until we know what were up against.”

First, they explored the rooms immediately to their left and right, flashing their torch beams around the empty spaces. Under the central landing, between the two stairways were a set of double doors. Opening them revealed a spectacularly large room to the back of the house. The rooms that led off from this, one had been used as the main dining room and the other possibly as a study or library. All the rooms had tall windows, which had once overlooked tended gardens and out across Ditchly common. Any recognisable lawns and flowerbeds had long gone. Unkempt and neglected for decades, it was now covered in a jungle of large bushes and to the back a small coppice of mature trees. As to any views of the common, even in the light of day, they would have been obscured by the dense foliage.

Back entering the main hall, a short passageway off to the right under the central landing ended in a flight of stone steps. Matt knew from his visit two years back that they led down to the kitchens and domestic quarters. For the moment, their exploration was left uncharted. Matt Lingam with the others retraced their footsteps back to the entrance area set between the two staircases.

“So I guess we can either go up or down from here,” said the Inspector. “Anyone wishing to make a choice or shall I just toss a coin.”

In the light from the torches, Father Daniels and Paul Harrison smiled nervously. Matt Lingam took a coin from his pocket and spun it in the air.

“Heads we go up, tails we go down.” The Inspector called. The coin came down poised on its edge, wobbled slightly then fell with heads up. “I guess we’re going up.”

On reaching the first floor landing, they heard the muffled sound of someone calling. It was off to the right and towards the back of the house. Father Daniels without hesitating moved forward with Matt following close behind. Detective Harrison lingered, he seemed reluctant to lose sight of the open front door. In the event of trouble, it offered a quick escape.

Father Daniels and Matt went along the first floor corridor. Reaching the door at the far end, they entered. The torch beams revealed a medium-sized room with another door on the far side. Louder now, there came again the sound of someone calling. However as they took each step across the room, the floorboards became creakier and creakier. Matt being the heavier of the two, was waved back by Father Daniels.

Reaching the far door the priest called out, then tried to open it but it appeared jammed. Matt was about to go and help, but was stopped by a loud cry. What followed was a heavy crash as if something had hit the far side of the door. Father Daniels pulled frantically at the door handle. There came another heavy crash and the door burst open sending Farther Daniels staggering backwards. Veronica Roche shot forth; the pair collided and fell over hitting the centre of floor with their combined weight.

All heard the sounds of cracking and splintering wood. It was like a series of gunshots going off. Next, the centre of the floor dropped several inches and Matt was thrown backwards. Father Daniels half turned, his face caught in the beam of the Inspector’s torch. For the moment the noise stopped. No one moved a muscle during the following silence. Then suddenly with a loud roar, the centre of the floor caved in. Father Daniels and the girl disappeared to leave a gaping hole.

QDOS :dread:

January 12th, 2012, 08:04 PM
I feel that
It was now late evening and Matt stood beside the police car... sounds a bit flat, so maybe you could try "As the shadows lengthened Matt stood beside the police car..." or "As the evening drew on Matt stood beside the police car...".

There was a single street lamp. The light by which, revealed the heavy wrought iron... doesn't flow too well, so I'd maybe try "A single street lamp illuminated the wrought iron..."

In the third paragraph, presumably their feet are cruching on the gravel, rather than their footsteps?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't it be
If it weren’t for the missing girl…?

Just a couple of insignificant niggles, really. I feel that here and there scentences could be combined or tidied up a little, but other than that this a very enjoyable and fast-paced read.

January 13th, 2012, 11:09 AM
Hi Higurro

First point -it’s a simple but specific statement - no need to embellish the moment.

Second point – perhaps I should have joined the two sentences:- There was a single street lamp, the light by which revealed the heavy wrought iron gates set across the drive of Chigwell House.

Third point - Footsteps - the act of taking a step in walking, I use the word crunched to establish the actual noise made by their footsteps.

And the last - If it wasn’t for the missing girl… I think wasn’t as it applies to girl, first person singular. I might suggest weren’t is becoming a little archaic like whom where nowadays simply who is more often accepted.

Thanks for the comments it’s always good to have thought provoking feedback. I now await the attack from the purist’s brigade.

Devil Incarnate (part seven)

Inspector Lingam lay with the end of his legs extended over the gap of the missing floorboards. A cloud of dust, caught by the torch beam, swirled about the spot where only seconds before Father Daniels and Veronica Roche had been. In some panic, Matt scrambled back a from the edge of the hole. All the while, he kept calling out for Detective Harrison.

“Harrison, Paul where the devil are you.”

There came no reply. Turning and rolling on to his stomach, Inspector Lingam crawled out into the corridor. Pointing the torch in the direction of the main landing, Detective Paul Harrison was nowhere in sight. Matt rolled on to his back and propped himself up on his elbows. Looking through the open doorway Matt stared across at the gap in the middle of the floor. Realising he was now on his own, the Inspector cursed as he got to his feet. Cautiously he took a couple of paces forward and peered over the edge of the gap. The beam of his torch was reflected back by the maelstrom of dust raised by the shattered flooring. He could see nothing of what lay below. The only course of action was to return to the ground floor. There to find Father Daniels and Veronica Roche, and hope they hadn’t sustained any major injuries.

As Matt Lingam turned to walk back to the landing, he was sure he caught a movement in the torch beam. His first thought was of Paul Harrison. However, on reaching the head of the stairs the young detective was nowhere to be seen. Below the front door was as they had left it, still wide open. Through the gap came a faint light from the street lamp further down Hobs Lane. Then out of the corner of his eye, Matt could have sworn he saw a movement. Was their somebody hiding behind the door? He pointed the beam of his torch to take a better look. At that moment, the door swung shut, closing with a shuddering bang.

The sudden movement shattered Matt’s remaining nerve. He dropped the torch and watched as it rolled off the landing. As the torch bounced down the stairs, the beam went out, but not before creating an array of sinister shadows around the walls. Being no hero, Inspector Lingam might have sought to hightailed it out of the house right there and then. Yet reluctantly he stayed. Slowly and with caution, he started to make his way down the stairs. At the bottom, he retrieved his torch. Trying the switch, luckily and with much relief it still worked.

By the Inspectors calculation, the gap in the above floor was over the library room at the back of the house. Going back through the double doors, Matt entered the large room that the Chigwell’s had used for their functions. The beam of the torch swung around the elaborate wallpaper, hanging in shreds. The flooring littered with scattered remnants of packing cases and old sacking used by the squatters. Crossing the floor to the library Matt pushed the door fully back on its hinges. First, he made a sweep of the beam upward and across the ceiling. The Inspector easily located the gaping hole from the floor above. However, a further shock awaited his already shattered nerves. The weight of the ceiling coming down had broken straight through, punching a hole right through this floor as well. The Inspector’s fear rose, as on shining the torch into the depths, all he could see was a smoke screen of raised dust. It obscured everything, including the whereabouts of Father Daniels or the girl they had been about to rescue.

It took only a few moments for Matt to decide what he had to do next. Turning Inspector Lingam headed towards the short passageway that led down to the work area of the house. At the bottom of the stone steps was a wide corridor with doors that led to the kitchens, laundry rooms and what had once been servants’ accommodation. After spending some time exploring, Matt realised they only accounted for half of the upper floor space. He started to search for a doorway that would lead under the other side of the house.

Back standing in the kitchen, Matt slowly swept the torch beam around the room. Along the far wall were the two-deep ceramic sinks both cracked and broken. To the right as a part of the central support to the rooms above were the chimneys. Their recesses housing old fashioned heavy iron ovens. Then in the corner, half hidden by a tall shelving unit that had fallen forward, the beam picked out another doorway. The Inspector had to clear a path across the kitchen to reach it.

Standing by the fallen shelving, Matt tried to lift it out of his way. In doing so, the wood suddenly exploded. The noise it made reverberated around and around the confines of the kitchen. Full of dry rot it produced a shower of splinters and an unpleasant cloud of dust. In a fit of coughing, Matt waved his arms about in a frantic effort to clear the air. It took several minutes before he was able to breathe more easily again.

Finally, Matt stood before the door. Surprisingly the key was still in place. Even more so, when on trying the key, it turned easily in the lock. The mechanism was heard to click as it released. Yet in trying to open the door, it remained firmly stuck. Matt tried shouldering the door open then resorted to kicking at the bottom panels. A third kick and he broke through. Kneeling, he aimed the torch through the gap to see if anything was blocking the door from the other side. His nerves already on edge, what Matt though he was seeing, sent a shiver down his spine. The apparition held in the beam couldn’t possibly exist.


January 14th, 2012, 10:27 AM
Devil Incarnate(part eight)

Matt’s imagination had to be working overtime. This was all a trick of his addled brain and brought on by the shadows cast by the torch. Shaking his head in disbelief and with his breathing becoming laboured, he pulled back. Matt swung himself around and sat down heavily with his back against the door. His eyes tightly shut, he drew in several deep breaths. Opening his eyes again, he was sitting in semidarkness. It took a moment for him to realised he’d dropped the torch on the far side of the door.

Inspector Matt Lingam was again having grave doubts as to what he was doing here. Then came a dose of rationality to spur him on. Somewhere beyond lay Father Daniels and the girl with who knew what injuries. Matt started to convince himself, what he thought he had seen had been created by the shadows. His sense of duty restored, he stood up. Leaning against the door, surprisingly it gave way and swung open. There seemed no logical explanation as to what might have held the door shut. Neither was there any evidence of the mysterious shadowy figure Matt thought he had seen. The light from his torch illuminated an empty set of narrow stone steps leading downwards. Gingerly Matt retrieved the torch, then keeping his back to one of the sidewalls, he slowly descended step by step.

At the bottom, a passage stretched away into the darkness. The Inspector shone the torch left and right checking the walls on either side. Then amongst the shadows at the far end, again he thought he glimpsed a movement. There was that sinister feeling, as if someone or something was trying to direct him. Matt Lingam felt the hairs on the back of his neck start to rise. Standing in the background light of the torch beam, he was full of uncertainty.

Moving slowly forward the Inspector took stock of his surroundings. The passage construction was of solid stonework with doorways set at regular intervals along each side. In places, some had been bricked up. In others, the doors had been removed or fallen in. Those doors still in place hung from rusted hinges. It did not take the Inspector long to realise these were cells belonging to the original prison. In some, Matt saw the remnants of discarded furniture. For the most part the torch beam showed them to be empty. In coming to the end of the passage, the last door showed signs of having been forcibly opened.

Matt hesitated, should he enter. What lay waiting in the room beyond? Summoning his courage, he cautiously peered around the edge of the doorway. Rectangle in shape, it was similar in size to the other cells. Stepping into the room Matt sensed a presence that sent a shiver down his spine. He felt the drop in temperature, then his whole body was racked by a bout of the shivers. In between chattering teeth, the Inspector took deep breaths in an effort to calm himself. The seconds ticked by in agonising slowness until finally the shakes started to subside.

Acting in his role of detective and having recovered some of his nerve, Matt began to explore the area of the cell. Until now, the torch beam had only pointed at the flagstone floor. Moving the beam across to the opposite wall, he raised the torch to illuminate the far side of the room. Matt froze and freaked out at what he saw. He held his ground only because fear routed him to the spot. The stories of Chigwell house were they true. For caught in the beam was the head and shoulders of a ghastly apparition. A deathly ashen face, white grey hair, the clothes garnished with dust and strands of cobwebs. Undeliverable as it might seem, and beyond all reason, this could only be a creature arisen from the grave.

QDOS 8-[

January 14th, 2012, 11:23 PM
Hi posting penultimate so I can finish tomorrow - Sunday. Need to put in some extra time on my Day job!

Devil Incarnate (part nine)

Inspector Lingam stared at the ghoulish face and it stared back. Its mouth opened wider and in a natural act of defence, Matt raised his arm. The fiendish creature also raised its arm as if to strike. For a moment, Matt thought he might make a run for it. However, as he made to turn the Inspector realised his error. The mouth of the creature broke into a thinly veiled smile. With sudden acknowledgment, Matt Lingam let out a sigh of relief. The ghoulish image confronting him was nothing more than his own reflection. It came from the polished surface of a large metal shield. Even so, it still took several minutes before Matt’s heart beat slowed to a more regular rhythm.

On closer inspection, Matt lifted the piece of armour off the peg from which it had been suspended. In doing so came another surprise, it concealed a hole in the wall. Matt shone the torch beam through the opening. Beyond lay a room with a high vaulted ceiling. Yet low and behold, there was a familiar figure stretched out across a pile of broken floorboards.

Wasting no time, Matt worked to widen the hole. A minute or two and it was already three times the size it had been. Pulling at the loose stones a great chunk of masonry was suddenly released. The bottom of the hole collapsed on the floor in a pile of rubble. Matt wasted no time in climbing through the gap. Father Daniels was still breathing thank God. Raising the old priest into a sitting position, he started to come round.

“How are you feeling Father?” Matt Lingam asked. “You had me worried there for a while.”

“As you ask, I have a thumping headache and an agonising pain in my left shoulder. Apart from that naturally I feel fine.”

“Good, well that’s not so bad.” Matt Lingam said smiling.

“What exactly happened up there?” asked the old priest.

“I guess your combined weight was too much for the flooring. It must have been rotten to the core and just gave way.” Matt looked up at the section of ceiling that had come down. Shining his torch beam, he could barely see the outline of the broken flooring above, let alone that of the first floor. “You came down a couple of floors, that’s a fare old drop Father.”

“Oh! And how’s the girl.”

As if in answer to the Fathers question, they both heard Veronica Roche call out to them.

“I’m over here. Please, please help me, my leg.”

Matt turned to the sound of the girl’s voice. She lay trapped by a broken joist and half buried beneath fallen rubble. Standing up Matt turned to see what could be done. In the light of the torch, he checked if the beam might be moved without bringing down more of the ceiling.

“Don’t worry I’m going to get you out of here.” Matt assured the girl.

Taking the end of the broken joist in both hands Matt Lingam pulled slowly on the beam. As it started to move, Veronica Roche eased her trapped leg from beneath. A few moments later Matt released the beam and helped the girl to her feet. There was a small gash on the leg that had been trapped, but no blood flowing from it. Apart from a number of bruises, Veronica Roche seemed fine. Well not entirely, Matt brushed the plaster and rubble dust from her shoulders. Looking at her face brought forth a smile. Standing in their present circumstances, the gothic style eye makeup, black lipstick and painted fingernails seemed somewhat apt.

As Matt finished speaking, an icy cold blast of air came from the direction of the hole in the wall. The temperature in the room plummeted. Instinctively the Inspector swung his torch around. Standing by the opening was the image of a young girl. The clothes and everything about her was like looking at an old silent black and white movie. Yet what was even stranger, she was pointing with some urgency to the back of the room.

Matt Lingam, Father Daniels and Veronica Roche all turned at the girls bidding. The torch of Inspector Lingam illuminated a large block of stone set in a recess. The carvings on its front could have been for an altar or perhaps a tomb. What caught Matt’s attention and amazement was that the stone lid was now slowly sliding back, and of its own accord. After a while, the grating noise of stone scraping on stone stopped. Matt shot a quick glanced down at Father Daniels.

“Can you see inside?” asked the priest still sitting on the floor and shaking his head in disbelief.

“I can’t quite make it out. Yes, yes I think its hollow,” replied Matt.

In the next instant, a spiralling black cloud began to rise up from the opening. The girl and both men watched transfixed by its swirling movement. The rippling surface gradually started to take form. It took the distinctive shape of a head with a short stocky neck that rested on broad shoulders. The contours of the face continued to take shape and become more solid.

“My God,” cried out Father Daniels. “This is as I feared, t’is the Devil’s work for sure.”

The features of the head continued to form in front of them. A face twisted with evil and with piercing red eyes. Glancing about the room, they settled on Veronica Roche. The mouth smiled, then the lips parted to show a row of pointed teeth with two overly large incisors. Matt Lingam stood mesmerised, his ability to rationalise lost to rising panic. Then as his nerve slipped further into the abyss, Veronica Roche let out a piercing scream and the torch dropped from Matt’s hand.

QDOS :sneakiness:

January 16th, 2012, 09:47 AM
Sorry did post this on Sunday, but looking this morning it seemed to have disappeared.

Devil Incarnate (part ten)

Now fully formed and anticipating victory, the lamia leapt from its stone coffin. As the beast advanced towards Veronica, Matt pushed the girl behind him and retreated along the wall. Coming to the corner of the room Matt desperately tried to think of what action he could take. Keeping the girl safe behind him and held back with his right arm, Matt made a last gesture to fend off his attacker with his left. It was then he heard Father Daniel’s plea.

“The gun, use the gun my boy.”

Caught in the creatures grip, Matt felt his head being forced to one side. Seen out of the corner of his eye, Matt watched the beast prepare to sink its long incisors into his exposed neck. Matt Lingam felt the cold breath of death. Yet in those last moments, he somehow managed to pull the gun from his pocket. Then as his life hung in the balance, he pulled the trigger. The gun fired its silver bullet straight up through the heart of the lamia.

Matt was at a lost to understand what happened next. With the noise of the gun blast still ricocheting around the room and ringing in his ears, the Vampire simply evaporated. It was as if it had never existed. It took several seconds for the deafness of his ears to abate before it registered that Father Daniels was calling out to him again.

“The stake, you must use the stake.” The old priest was shouting.

Matt Lingam was still in shock. Yet at the priests bidding, he felt for the smooth polished oak and pulled it free from his inner coat pocket. Matt still in a daze, staggered across to the stone coffin. Leaning over, he peered into its interior. In the defused light from his dropped torch, he could just make out the remains. A skeletal body dressed in its decayed funeral attire. Raising the wooden stake Matt plunged it into the chest. In braking through the rotten clothing, he heard it snap the bones of the rib cage beneath. Where it came from Matt would never know, there was a small spurt of red liquid, which spread out in a widening pool around the embedded stake and across the tattered clothing.

Stepping back Matt turned to face Father Daniel sitting on the floor. As he did so, he glanced across at the spectral image of the girl that had come to warn them. Suddenly a burst of light shone down from above. The girl looked up and warmly embraced its rays. Then smiling across at Matt and the old priest, she did a slow twirl. She seemed to be laughing and Matt realised that her feet were hovering above the floor. Then held in the beam of light, she was raised slowly up towards its source. Matt in watching followed the girl as she rose higher. Then as the light grew brighter and more intense, Matt was forced to shield and close his eyes.

Matt awoke with a start. He realised he must have fallen asleep. A voice was calling his name, in his muddled state it didn't sound like Father Daniels. It was far off and more feminine, a voice that reminded him of his mothers. Suddenly he sat bolt upright, it was his mother’s voice. Quickly he hit the windows key on the keyboard, then moved the mouse over the shut-down button to activate it. Leaping out of his chair, he threw himself across the room and into his bed. Pulling the covers over him, he tried to look as if he had just woken up, which in reality was quite true. Matt heard the creak of a floorboard, then the noise of the handle being turned to his bedroom door. The door opened, illuminated by the landing light stood a familiar figure.

“So you’ve been at it again I see. Well Matt Lingam this is your last chance. You have just ten minutes to get washed, dressed, have your breakfast, and be ready for the school bus. I’m not driving you in again this week.”

The door was pulled closed and Matt heard his mother’s footfalls, as she went back across the landing and down the stairs. Looking across at the computer monitor, it still had “Saving Files” displayed across the middle of the screen. A moment later, there came the sound of a dull click, followed by the noise of the cooling fan as it began to wind down. In the following silence, Matt lay staring at the blank screen. His only concern, he’d not had time to read his final score to the computer game Devil Incarnate.


Well I hope you enjoyed my little twist at the end.

On New Year’s Eve, I was introduced to someone who runs his own company repairing old computers, Amstrad, Atari, Sinclair Spectrums, QL and the like. It has also opened up a lucrative business in retro games. I played around with those early home computers and programs in machine code. About the same time, I remember a college assignment for a washing machine program I wrote in 29 lines of Forth.

Anyway, the link being I might have the opportunity to revamp some of my old efforts. The most ambitious being a Warehouse Game, where you try to fulfil orders using a pick-up truck to load lorries against the clock, while making delivery request, which you then have to unload to maintain Warehouse stocks. The other idea was control of an Atomic Power Station, dealing with simple problems of demand all the way through to a terrorist attack and a potential environmental disaster.

Thanks again for reading and all your encouraging and/or helpful comments.

QDOS :triumphant:

January 19th, 2012, 04:39 PM
the story itself has potential. the narrative is clean and, for the most part, well structured but for the issues already cited. the main problems i have with this are

1) the dialogue is not believable and at times seems very forced and, frankly, quite flaky. i have issues with actually imagining these people. on the one hand you have what appears to be a cockney (or other british) accent with lines like “See I always comes this way in the morn’in, goes to fetch me paper and fags.” you then have the other characters who seem to speak in an almost robotic fashion - “Well in that case I’d say she died around midnight. That’s give or take an hour or so. I won’t be able to give you a more precise time. Not until I have completed the Post Mortem analysis of the stomach contents.” The dialogue involving the old man is much more convincing because at least it is written with a character in mind, albeit quite a cliched cockney type. the other characters seem underdeveloped and lazy.

2) the language used comes across as rather contrived and derivative. For instance, the paragraph "Detective Harrison flashed his identification and spoke to the constable. The barrier was moved allowing both men into the alleyway. At the far end, the path opened on to waste ground. The strip of land lay between the back gardens of the terraced houses and the old canal. Inspector Lingam made a cursory glance to both right and left. The body lay over on the left close to a section of broken down fencing. Someone had fetched a blanket and thrown it over the corpse. The Inspector noted that it still left the legs below the knees exposed. Nearby a woman constable was taking notes while conversing with an old man. He was dressed in a drab and heavy looking grey overcoat." I'm sorry, but this kind of narrative, while not awful, is completely unimaginative and unoriginal. It could literally be from a thousand different stories. It's not that you need to turn the noir/detective genre completely on its head to stand out, but for gods sake tell it in a different way. don't tell us detective harrison 'flashed his identification and spoke to the constable'. that is so obvious it borders on irksome. if you must have that line then at least tell us HOW he flashed his identification - was it in a casual or arrogant fashion? what kind of identification was it? what was the reaction of the constable to meeting harrison? - and don't say 'spoke to the constable', tell us what he said to the constable. it must have been something interesting! and, if it wasn't, then leave it out. it's boring and unneccessary.

this needs serious work. but note it's not the story that's flawed, its the way you tell it. you manage to make a story involving a dead body the most boring thing imaginable, that takes some doing.

January 20th, 2012, 12:43 PM
The truth be told, I tried very hard to like this. As luckyscars says, it's not the story, it's the telling of it that's at fault.

First there is an excess of words. You use too many words to convey too little information. A problem I have in reading is to stop and mentally edit flawed sentences rather than passing on to the next. Thus when I come to a wordy sentence my impulse is to stop, rewrite it, perhaps consider two or three different ways the information could have been delivered with fewer words, and in the process I lose the thread of the story. This makes the narrative sections almost impossible to read. Of course this is a holdover from my own style, which is based on the two words 'precise' and 'concise'. Say exactly what you want to say, and say it with the fewest words possible.

Second, the dialogue. Again it is with lucky scars opinion that I must concur. Character is most easily created through dialogue, and there's not a character here that I recognise as a human, not even the Cockney who sounds like a stage comedian and a bad one at that.

A serious rewrite is in order, sad to say.

January 21st, 2012, 12:20 PM
luckyscars , garza -thanks for your posts, I value any comments.

This was all part of diversion for me and in my defence the dialogue is cheesy and the characters are meant to be flat, two dimensional. The over emphasis on description was the point as I was trying to display, as the characters and events are a simulation, being part of a computer game.

QDOS :encouragement:

January 21st, 2012, 12:30 PM
Ah, well, not being conversant with computer games I did not recognise the style.

Carry on.