View Full Version : The Reckoning Ch.1 and part of Ch.2

March 9th, 2012, 09:31 AM
This is a first draft. This took me about 3 hours or so it's a little rough. I only have a few pieces under my belt, and this is the first I have shared with anyone. I'm asking for feedback, any and all is welcome. I know that if I want to improve, those with more knowledge must guide me.



Wednesday, December 3, 2087
Dawn broke, and as the warm breath of the morning sun kissed the side of his face, Samuel Atkins awoke peacefully. Blinking away the sleepiness that had only moments ago held him captive, he couldn’t help but think of how this was a welcome change to the routine he has gotten used to.
He stared at the ceiling, pondering what he was going to do next. Should he stay here, or move on to the next hole he could find. The fact that he was able to wake peacefully was a good reason to stay put. The need to find someone, anyone to live with was a good reason to move on. Loneliness can consume a man’s soul when he’s been without company as long as Sam had. It didn’t help that the few people he had come across were either too scared to trust him, or too insane for him to trust.
Ever since the Reckoning of Kismet three years ago his life became nothing but a strung together series of tragic events, and searing loss. Lots of suffering and death had occurred, and only a small percentage of the population remained on this forsaken planet.
Attempting to use his abs as little as possible, he pushed himself up into a sitting position, wincing at the pain in his left side as he did. He didn’t want to reopen the wound from two nights ago. Reaching over with his right hand, his fingers ran over the gauze covering the stab wound. Battle had forced him to learn to survive. He had learned how to stitch himself up, how to quickly stop a bleeding wound, and how to tell if someone was going to live or die. How many had he seen die now? How many eyes had he watch the light dim out of? More than he had ever wanted to.
Sam dropped his legs over the side of the bed, and his body twitched the moment his bare feet touched the cold hardwood floor. It was a lovely chestnut wood floor, colored with a dark stain and a hint of red. A glossy finish that had been dulled by time, and lack of care stole away some of the beauty. Amazingly, this mansion had retained most of its dignity, though everything of value had been taken long before he had ever come to live here. He looked around the room, grateful for yet another day to live. The pale blue walls, the large full panel windows with the suns golden rays pouring in, the whole room felt cozy. Like a safe-haven from the bitter and cruel world that was waiting outside. A world ruined by the greed of evil men.
He stood, a towering six feet and three inches, and every last inch of it was fit and toned. He had always been an athlete, but this lifestyle had turned his body into a rippling field of muscle. He was lean, toned, and strong. If you wanted to survive in this new world, you had to be. It was every man for himself, and with no government in place anymore, why wouldn’t it be? There was no law, no consequences for their actions. If you wanted to live, you had to enforce your own law. Protect yourself at all cost, and be willing to eliminate those who sought to do you harm.
Samuel picked the holster off the bedside table. It was designed to be worn under his clothing, which he liked. Having a gun strapped to your side was a great way to make yourself a target these days. He put the holster against the small of his back, with two clamps grabbing the waistline of his jeans. He reached back to the nightstand and grabbed the forty-five caliber, semi-automatic, sub-compact pistol. The cold steel of the pistol brought his numb fingers to the forefront of his mind, cursing at him for putting them to sleep again. He would have to stop sleeping with his hands under his pillow, because it always put his hands to sleep. He always told himself it’s going to end his life one of these days. Even after three years, he still would do it occasionally, and he cursed at himself every time he did. He slid the pistol into the holster, and carried on with his routine.
Hanging on the bedpost was a Kevlar vest. It was VIP style, 3-A class protection. Thin, lightweight, and concealable under his clothing. It gave him a fair amount of protection without being a hindrance to his speed and movements. It had saved his life several times already. He picked the tattered red shirt off the floor and slipped it on. It had holes in both armpits, and several others in random places. An army green jacket made of polyester and cotton finished off the ensemble.
Next up was the hunting knife. After running his belt through the loops of his tattered jeans, the knife was placed on his right hip. It was seven inches in length and an inch and a half in width at its base. It was a thick, sturdy knife, and he kept it sharp. Several men had died at the end of his knife. Even more had died by his swords.
Sam continued to arm himself with his double edged claymore. It was a beautiful piece, folded steel, and well-constructed. It was a pointed type, designed for both slashing and stabbing, even capable of penetrating some types of body armor. He slid it into the scabbard on his left hip. On his back was his short sword, single edged with a rounded blade meant for slashing and cutting, it was best suited for use with a shield. His shield was round, and about 2 feet in diameter, made of solid bronze. With his shield draped over his shoulder, the short sword, and most of his back was protected.
Firearms, and ammunition had become scarce these days and most conflicts were fought with swords and knives. After three years, Sam considered himself lucky to still have the thirty-six rounds for the forty-five caliber pistol in his possession. However, he had become rather proficient at the art of hand-to-hand combat, and went through this routine of arming himself daily.
He walked across the room and stopped to look at himself in the mirror. He let out a deep sigh. At the ripe age of twenty-three, he already had the visage of a man well into his forties, and the life experience to match it. His scruff had grown into a beard and it was always causing him grief. He hadn’t shaved in three weeks, his faced itched terribly, and scratching did little to suppress it.
His fingers ran through is short cropped hair, no longer than an inch or two and it matched the coloring of his new beard, dark chocolate with specks of grey and white become more and more abundant.
Samuel walked through the bedroom door, and down the foyer towards the living room. He limped from the pain in his side, bringing the memories from two nights ago back to his minds eye, and it made him cringe. Never before had he confronted such evil alone. Never before had he confronted such evil period.
Murdock is what the deranged man had called himself. Sam would never be able forget those piercing black eyes. Eyes that looked straight through a man, and push his soul straight out of his body left to wander forever. Cold. Heartless. Evil. Sam considered himself lucky to have walked away with only the stab wound in his side. The man moved with speed that was superhuman; it was as if the man could slow down time, while still moving freely.
Sam had heard that the Reckoning had driven some men mad, yet others had developed strange abilities. He didn’t know how much he believed these rumors, but this McMurdock fellow certainly seemed to fit both. Mad, and superhuman. Sam shook the memory away, he had lingered on it for too long already. Despair can kill a man faster than any blade, bullet or disease ever could these days.
A loud growl signaled the awakening of a hungry stomach, and pushed Sam into the kitchen to consume yesterday’s catch. He opened the door to his refrigerator and grabbed a large slab of fresh venison. The memories of going hunting with his father brought tears to his eyes.
Dad, thanks for everything. I wish you were still here. The lessons he had learned on those hunting trips had proven to be invaluable. The laws of nature and the methods for hunting, and skinning were skills that had been extremely useful since the Reckoning.
The meat made a loud plop, and a thrilling sizzle as Sam tossed the steak onto the hot skillet. He considered himself lucky to have found the skillet two months ago in Richards Grove. It made cooking the animals he killed much easier. He was used to using some sort of stone, but this skillet was a wonderful luxury, one he took full advantage of.
The meat continued to brown in the pan, and the smell of the cooked deer filled the room, making him salivate uncontrollably. He only got to eat meat like this on rare occasions, whenever he managed to find a deer or another similar animal to kill. Wildlife was thankfully on the rise. With fewer and fewer hunters killing them for sport, and lets just face it fewer humans period, the wildlife was having more than ample opportunity to flourish in this new world. At least it was clear that life could still flourish, even if it isn’t human.
The venison had reached a level of tenderness that matched the toughness of his palm when he pressed his thumb to his middle finger. Medium, just the way I like it. He liked to have a little bit of blood in his meat, but not too much. He never did understand those people that always ate their meat rare. It was almost like eating the meat raw, and it made Samuel sick to his stomach.
He pulled the meat off of the skillet, and placed it on his plate. He was determined to keep his humanity, and using plates, and utensils was one way of doing that. It helped him stay sane, and grounded in these dark times. He grabbed his fork and knife, and began cutting away at the venison. Indeed, it was a medium temperature steak. Grease and blood began to pool on the bottom of Samuel’s plate, and he relished every moment of it. He wanted to keep his strength up, and protein rich foods such as this helped him do just that.
Sam was nearing the end of his breakfast when a window shattered in the study down the hall. Instinct and trained skills kicked in immediately, and by the time Samuel stood up, his pistol was in his right hand, and his dagger in his left. Ears perked, and eyes focusing down the hallway in the direction of the study, Sam waited for the intruder to walk into his line of sight.
The shadow began to grow in the frame of the door, and Sam already had the trigger half-way pulled. With no safety, he would have to make a split second judgment call, one that he would not regret either way.
Smack! Sam’s face spun to the right, and the gun went off. He was off balance and caught himself on the wall. Where had that come from? A pair of strong hands grabbed his jacket collar, and flung him across the room. His back slammed against the wall. He looked up in time to see a boot flying towards his face, so he dodged right, and plunged his knife into the calf of the man’s leg. A low uppercut met Sam’s jaw and slammed his head into the wall. Everything went dark.


When Sam awoke, he was in another room of the house. Alive. He let out a sigh of relief, he was alive. He surveyed the room, it was dark, and he couldn’t see much, but he could tell he was back in the bedroom. The door was 10 feet behind him, and off to the right. The bed was 6 feet straight ahead. He was sitting in a chair from the main table at the kitchen, and was strapped into it by thick zip-ties. One hand on each arm of the chair, and each foot strapped to a leg. His head was pounding, and it was difficult to think clearly. Whoever had hit him, hit him hard.
“So, you finally decided to wake up.” A strangely familiar voice said. If he knew this person, it could explain why he wasn’t dead yet. “You really should mind your manners. It’s not nice to point a gun at someone.”
The shadow moved from the corner of the room behind him. He was off to Sam’s left, and about 6 feet away. The footsteps were heavy, and deep.
Boots. I remember seeing them during the fight. Looked to be military issued. Male, large, and can handle himself. No real way out of this one yet Sam. Just going to have to bide your time, and pray he makes a mistake. Taking everything in, Sam was making a mental list of everything that he could. If he wanted to stay alive, he would have to remain calm, and know everything about this adversary as he could. If only I was closer to the bed, I could reach the detonator for the C4 along the front wall and blow this guy to kingdom come. Getting out of here would be a piece of cake. I have to rea-
“I already found the C4.”
Samuel’s eyes went wide. What?! How is that possible? It was concealed inside the wall! Who is this guy? How am I going to survive this?! Sam could tell he was starting to lose his nerve. This man, whoever he was, knew how to survive, knew how to fight, and clearly knew how to intimidate.
“I’m not going to kill you. At least not yet.” The man took a few more steps, stopping directly behind Sam’s chair. The man leaned forward, placing his mouth next to Sam’s ear “You have something I need. Something I desperately want. Something you were born with, that I can only have if you give it to me.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about. What on earth could I have been born with that you want?” Sam was confused, off kilter. He needed to regain his focus. He needed to get himself back in control.
“If you don’t already know, you’ll find out soon enough.” The man circled the chair, and Samuel could finally see his captors face.
“You.” Sam’s blood turned to ice in his veins. Fear took hold of his mind, and quickly drove him to madness. It was now impossible to stay calm, he was panicking. He had lost it. He had to get away, and it had to be now! How is this possible?! How is he here?! Why God?! Why?!
“Hello Samuel, Surprised to see me again?”
“This isn’t possible. This can’t be happening!”
“But it is. I am real. I am here. I am in control, and I will get what I want.” The man’s deep sickening laughter filled the air in the room. A clear and present evil seeped from the core of this man’s being. The temperature in the room began to drop just from his presence. Sam’s skin began to form goose bumps from the cold, and the windows began to frost over.
Sam let out a scream of terror, desperately struggling against his bonds. Everything began to dim, and then went dark once more.



Tuesday, October 17, 2084. Three years ago. The day of Reckoning.
Sam’s phone was ringing. He could hear it in his dreams trying to pull him away from blissful sleep and throw him back into reality. Still half asleep he reached for the phone and flipped it open.
“Hello?” He mumbled.
“Dude, get out of bed or you’re going to be late for class.” This voice belonged to Calvin Jones, Sam’s best friend and partner in crime. Of course the crimes never amounted to anything more than a bunch of pranks on their college buddies.
“Who cares? I’m getting straight A’s even though I hardly go to class.” Sam retorted sarcastically.
“Yes, but we have an exam today remember?” Calvin clearly had the same sarcastic tone that he had just been using, and it annoyed him.
“What are you talking about? The test is on Tuesday.”
“Today is Tuesday genius.”
“Really? I didn’t even know. Alright then, I’m getting up.”
“Good. I would hate for Mr. ‘straight A’s without going to class’ to fail because he missed an exam.”
“I appreciate the concern.”
“Anything for his royal highness.” They were always picking at each other like this, and Cal was good at it. Very good.
“Ha ha Cal. I suppose Now you think you’re just the funniest jester in my court. I’ll have you kno-”
“I’m the only jester in your court my lord, no one else likes you enough.” Laughter blared from the other end of the phone. Only this laughter was not Calvin’s, it was a woman. A woman Sam knew, and had a very strong crush on.
“Don’t listen to him Sam, there are plenty of people that like you.” Jennifer O’Connel. Sam would recognize that sweet voice anywhere.
“Don’t yell into my phone Jen.” Said Calvin.
“Leave her alone Cal, she is just trying to make up for how terrible a friend you are.”
“Is that so?”
“Of course it is. If she didn’t do it, then I would have abandoned you to live a pathetic life of solitude long ago Cal.”
“Oh ho now! Well, I guess I’ll just have to remember that the next time you beg for me to help you with one of your half-baked schemes!”
“Jen will still help me, so I’m not too worried about it.”
“No I won’t.” Jen said.
“Ouch. I’ve been cut more deeply than words can express! Abandoned by both of my dearest friends on the same day! Within thirty seconds of each other no less!” Laughter erupted on the other end of the line.
“Just get your butt out of bed, and we’ll see you in class.” With that Calvin hung up the phone.
“They’re always on my case.” Sam laughed to himself. He had two very good friends, and he would cherish them forever. Hopefully this week he would work up the nerve to ask Jen out on a date.
He let out a groan, dreading having taking this exam. He had studied for it of course, but it was still a pain taking tests. Why couldn’t his teachers just give him A’s without doing any work? He was going to get an A in all of his courses anyways. Unfortunately, that’s not how college works, so Sam threw off the covers, and got out of bed.

The double doors to the meeting room swung wide as Joseph DuFranc made his dramatic entry.
“Gentlmen,” he exclaimed, “today is the day that we have been working towards for the last three years. We have all invested much into this project, both time and money. After today, this world will be ours to do with as we please! After today, no one will be able to stand in our way!” Applause came from everyone in the room. The number of men sitting around the long rectangular table numbered only thirteen. These thirteen men would be the ones to determine the course of history for the entire world.
“Joseph, when does phase one begin?” Alexander Wheismen, the oldest, and no doubt wisest of the group asked. His voice was soft, and raspy. One knew this man was old just from the way he spoke, but he had far more spunk than most would have guessed. The man was still as bloodthirsty as ever, and had no qualms with running over anyone who threatened to stand in his way.
“Now.” Joseph replied.
“Good. Very good.” Alexander looked around the room, “Because I have grown tired of waiting. I don’t know about my colleagues, but I for one had begun to doubt your abilities to follow through with your promises. I must admit that I am glad I was wrong.”
“Ah, well then, I fear I must offer my apologies for taking so long to deliver! I’m sure that all of you will be more than satisfied with the results of my research. Today, gentlemen, every government in the world will crumble and fall. Then since those of us gathered in this room, collectively control thirty percent of the world’s wealth there will be no one to stand against us. We will have the gold, and we shall make to world follow our rules.” --- End of exceprt.

March 22nd, 2012, 03:37 PM
Vivid imagery. Dialogue could use some work, it seems choppy in instances...

good work, keep writing

April 4th, 2012, 10:57 PM
Hmm. I kind of find this interesting. like Tolleburg said, there are choppy parts, like forced dialogue that kind of were odd to read. There's a tricky thing with futuristic fiction that you kind of need to base everything in a sort of apocalyptic way, which nowadays with The Walking Dead and other post-apocalyptic-type stories, it's difficult to separate the story apart so that the reader won't feel like they've read this before. (unless of course the reader wants to read the same story repeatedly, which I rather doubt).

There's a thing I learned with posting on forums, to make it easier to read, break up the paragraphs with a space, so it isn't as strenuous to read on the computer screen, I know a few people who print the screen out, so I guess then it's a bit easier for them, but if you're like me, white space is easier on the eyes then giant blocks of text.

You had a few typing mistakes like when Joseph Dufranc enters and you misspelled "gentleman". and also, while writing dialogue, you have to think of it as a sentence. if you're going to have a continuation like:

“I’m the only jester in your court my lord, no one else likes you enough.” Laughter blared from the other end of the phone. Only this laughter was not Calvin’s, it was a woman. A woman Sam knew, and had a very strong crush on.
“Don’t listen to him Sam, there are plenty of people that like you.” Jennifer O’Connel. Sam would recognize that sweet voice anywhere.
“Don’t yell into my phone Jen.” Said Calvin.

after the dialogue is closed, you need to stop adding the periods, only if the tag doesn't go along. and when you have the "he said, she said" the he or she shouldn't be capitalized, because it isn't a name and is part of the sentence. I'll write a few lines of random dialogue as an example:

"There's three of those dogs in there," Charlie said. He scrunched his nose in disgust.
"What happened to the other four?" I asked.
"Greg killed them in the laundromat," he replied.

If you see the difference, then ok. Try and go back or just read a published novel with blocks of dialogue like you had. The cleaner way to write dialogue is definitely in Ernest Hemingway novels or short stories. Learn as much as you can, but try not to copy. Let your own storytelling voice come through. You definitely have one for this beginning, I just hope it's strong enough to carry and evolve along with the story.

It's not easy writing a novel, just because of how long and intense it has to be. Short stories are good practice if you want to try and make your stories longer. Start with 3 pages, 10 pages, 15 page stories. Then move up at a pace that feels good for you. Jumping headfirst into a 200 or more page novel as one of your first projects is really difficult and oftentimes will kill your stamina if you haven't built it up to last.

I hope some of this helps, you have a good storytelling ability. I just think you need to build on the fundamentals in order for this to not feel like a chore, rather than a creative project. It should be fun, not taxing or tiresome. You should enjoy every page you write and thrive off of feedback like it's your best friend. Thanks for reading this, if you did.


April 8th, 2012, 01:36 PM
Crash gave you some decent feedback, and since I have not the time to fully edit your piece, I'll start with this - we're not all more knowledgeable than you. Nor do we need to be to critique your work; it's about perspectives. We see things from a different light as we're the reader, and you're the writer. It just helps that we like to write also, so we have an idea of how to find and fix problems we see in your work the way we would do it. Not to mention, we're not always right in our critique. Some people on here would tell you that you're being overly descriptive - f**k 'em. Dickens is still considered one of the greatest writers, and his description goes on for pages. I can name others as well, with much description, who have written description-based novels, and most are more successful than anyone who writes "TV Trash" for the mindless fool who can't read anything without dialogue.

April 8th, 2012, 05:20 PM
I can't correct any of your grammar but I'll tell you this, I like the idea you have. I can say that it's just a small bit difficult to keep track of where your reading due to the "scrunching" of paragraphs. I put full line breaks in like so ...

I'm working on something of the same idea. Especially the line-
"Firearms, and ammunition had become scarce these days and most conflicts were fought with swords and knives."

Good work keep it up.

April 14th, 2012, 06:31 PM
I really like this, your imagery is vivid and engaging. It makes you want to keep reading, giving you nuggets of information about the world to build up a bold picture of the present while getting a drip feed of information about how it has come about.

This is maybe a little bit petty, but I keep getting drawn back to it. Your character carries a shortsword oh his back and then a claymore in a holster?

A claymore is a huge weapon and the way its described I just imagine it dragging along the floor while your character has to twist in agony, stretching back to reach the short sword, heavily straining their recent wounds?

I would really like to read more though, I enjoyed it. :)