View Full Version : Miller's Retreat

Shorty Dawkins
February 1st, 2012, 02:14 AM
This is the first Chapter of a new book. I'd appreciate criticisms.

Chapter One

“Let me get this straight, Sheriff. After your goddam government has killed off 95% of the population, with their genetically enhanced virus, you have the unmitigated gall to come here and ask for our help? Is that what I'm hearing from you, Sheriff? Maybe I'm not hearing you too well. Is that what this fool Sheriff is asking, Dave?”

“I think that's what he is doing, Henry. Isn't that what you are doing, Sheriff? Aren't you asking for help?”

Dave and Henry stared at the Sheriff from Henry's front porch. The Sheriff stood on the sidewalk leading up to the porch. His hat was in his hand and he was definitely not comfortable asking for their help. If he could have avoided it, he would have.

“Darn it. I didn't release that virus, Henry. We've got a real disaster on our hands here. You folks came through this thing with nary a loss. I don't understand why, but you did. Now ….”

“Because we wouldn't accept your damn vaccines, Sheriff. That virus was prepared to attack those who took your vaccines. I guess you were smart enough not to take them, too.” Henry interrupted him.

“For God's sake, Henry. I've already admitted you aren't the crazy fool I always thought you were. What more can I say?” Sheriff Bob Tremblay complained.

“It isn't what you can say, Sheriff, it's what you can do.” Henry stared at him with a fierce look. “You can throw that badge you are so damned proud of on the ground, take your uniform and that silly hat you wear and throw them in the trash, and then, Bob Tremblay, you can admit that you are a man who is no better than the rest of us. You can admit that your power comes from a gun, nothing more. Well, Bob Tremblay, as things stand now, we don't need you, but I guess you need us. I could shoot you dead, right now, and most folks would think I was justified. You represent the Government that killed their loved ones, their friends and their neighbors.” Henry spit on the ground.

“I …..” the Sheriff started.

“Shut up, Bob.” Dave said, harshly. “Just shut up. We don't want to hear excuses. You have two options, Bob. One: throw away your badge and uniform, forswearing your stupid allegiance to the Government that just killed about 280 million of its own people. If you do that, we'll let you live, Bob, because option number two is for us to shoot you. That's right, Bob, we are not putting up with your damn government another minute. So, what will it be, Bob?”

Dave and Henry stared real hard at Bob. Yes, they were angry. They'd been angry for a lot of years, but the virus that had just killed billions of people worldwide, was the last straw. No one connected with the Government, who continued to think the Government was in the least bit moral would survive, if Henry and Dave had anything to say about it.

Bob was nervous, there was no doubt of it. Henry and Dave were both holding shotguns, and two of their sons also had shotguns, and they all now aimed them at him.

“You win, Henry.” Bob took off his hat and threw it on the ground. He then threw his badge on the ground.

“Now will you help me?” Bob asked.

“No, Bob, I won't help you. I'll let you live, as long as you renounce being Mister High and Mighty Sheriff, but I won't help you. Dave and I, and our families and friends will help our neighbors, Bob, not you. Why don't you stop thinking you're so damn important and roll up your sleeves and help them, too? Is that too much to ask?” Henry glared at Bob. “Now get out of here, Bob. We'll bring our people to help with the burials. If I see you in your uniform again, Bob, I'll kill you. Make no mistake about it.”

“I have one question for you, Henry.” Bob said. “How did you know? About the vaccines, I mean.”

“If you had ever bothered to read the literature Dave and I gave you, you wouldn't have to ask that question, Bob. But, no, you thought Dave and I were crazy conspiracy nuts. This didn't have to happen, Bob. You will go to your grave knowing you were part of the biggest genocide the world has ever known. Almost six billion dead. Isn't that what the count is estimated to be? I hope you are proud of the part you played in it.”

“I ….. I didn't ...”

“Bullshit, Bob. You are not stupid. The signs were everywhere. You just didn't want to know. You didn't want to interfere with your power trip. You wallowed in your ignorance, Bob. You were happy to pretend to be stupid, like the rest. You were content to bury your head in the sand, because you didn't have the courage to face reality. Well, reality is here, Bob. It is the stench of six billion rotting corpses.” Henry continued to glare at Bob. “I'm not letting you, or anyone else, off easy. I've paid my dues. Dave and I have been snickered at, and laughed at, called the Tin Foil Hat guys, because we tried to warn everyone. Very few listened. You wouldn't listen, Bob.

“Go on. Get out of here. You make me sick.” Henry turned and went into the house.

“You heard him, Bob. Get off our land.” Dave raised his gun and leveled it at Bob. “Get, Bob. Now.”

The Backward OX
February 1st, 2012, 10:34 AM
There's vast overuse of the name Bob. Amongst others, I found 15 uses in three paragraphs. With this many, it almost seems deliberate. If so, the meaning escapes me. If I'm wrong, and it's not deliberate, one of your first tasks is to get rid of most of them.

February 5th, 2012, 03:44 PM
There's vast overuse of the name Bob. Amongst others, I found 15 uses in three paragraphs. With this many, it almost seems deliberate. If so, the meaning escapes me. If I'm wrong, and it's not deliberate, one of your first tasks is to get rid of most of them.

Yes, it is likely it's deliberate. We'd find out if it's so if we get to read the entire story/novel/...

bazz cargo
February 5th, 2012, 09:58 PM
Hi Shorty,
This feels like a good start. Dialogue is easy to read. I could do with a bit of background slightly earlier Not an explanation, just where this is. On the porch of 32 Loco street kind of thing. I think Bob's name is used as a prod, it is a clever use, but you could easily over do it.
Thanks for sharing. I will keep an eye out for more.

doghouse reilly
February 7th, 2012, 06:04 AM
I understand you are starting the story "in media res", but it seems to me a big information dump. You are talking about something everyone already knows, for the benefit of the reader. It does not ring true. I realize it's hard to do, but I think you would make a better story if you gave some background first. And it's a big story that probably needs telling.
I wish you luck,

doghouse reilly

February 8th, 2012, 09:50 PM
A virus that kills 95% of the human population is a lot to work in to a first chapter, add the fact that it was all a government conspiracy and you have information overload. I would suggest a prologue, maybe from the point of view of Henry or Dave, that details the rise of the virus and the death of the world population. That way, your readers have insight into what the virus was and you don't have to try and add back story into your main story. Hope this helps. Cheers.

February 10th, 2012, 03:43 AM
Enjoyed it, man. You've gotten a couple of really good crits already, especially Canis. This is indeed a lot of info to start out with in such a short first chapter. That said, since the chapter is so short, you may be planning to flash back right after introducing your main characters and the central ethical dilemma (and, of course, I know what your central dilemma will be. ;) ).

I'd really like to see a bit more before I did an in-depth crit, myself. :)


February 12th, 2012, 04:13 AM
People have already commented, and I tend to agree. The enormity of the subject and the conversation between these 3 people don't match. It's too much compressed information and is hard to take seriously at the moment. Maybe we need to see more to really judge it.

Mr mitchell
February 20th, 2012, 07:54 PM
Hello Shorty, It was a good read but I think you used Bob too much. The dialouge was easy to read; I think I needed some backstory at the beggining, remember not to info dump as it have been a bore to read. It was really easy to care about your charaters, they were hard but believable.
Mr M

February 21st, 2012, 03:23 AM
I really like your characters so far. It's easy to picture the scene and all the emotions at play. It's already been mentioned, but I agree that a prologue would be nice so that you can thin out the details and continue to focus on the feel of the place.

February 21st, 2012, 05:39 AM
My contribution would be that the dialogue seems to agenda driven. The blunt nature of the 'anti-government' sentiment reads like the author's words, not so much the characters.

The sentiment is real, that they are betrayed by a government that failed them, however the wording seems to clean. the passionate hate the characters must have for the government just reads too logical.

You can throw that badge you are so damned proud of on the ground, take your uniform and that silly hat you wear and throw them in the trash,
To me, it doesn;t sound like a genuine threat.

I'd also need some convoncing that Bob needs to be repeated so much.

Lastly, you call 6 billion people dying a Genocide which is

the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group

Small point, but 6 billion worldwide would be better described as a Panademic, or the start of an Extinction event.

It would be interesting to see how the story progressess though. Chapter one of a pandemic and the protagonists seem to have a pretty good grip on whats going on which is unusual.

Shorty Dawkins
February 21st, 2012, 10:26 PM
I've been offline for two weeks now. UGH! Thank you all for your comments. I'll reply to them further after I consider them.

Shorty Dawkins

Shorty Dawkins
February 23rd, 2012, 02:26 PM
I have posted a revised beginning for Miller's Retreat in a new thread: Miller's Retreat revised.
Thank you for your comments, all, they were very helpful.