PDA

View Full Version : THe Lights of PAris - Chapters 2 and 3



Nevermore
March 12th, 2012, 12:51 PM
An excerpt from my Writers club project, the Lights of Paris.



Collapse





“We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
― Anaïs Nin



Cheryl marched down the opulent hallways of Pascal Manor, an annoyed frown marking her features. A crumpled stack of official looking documents fluttered gently in her hand, the rustling of paper accompanying the hollow echoes of her footsteps. With a sharp turn, Cheryl entered a more dull, modern looking section of the estate, a scattering of dreary paintings interrupting the monotone of the cement walls.

However, as she turned one last corner, she found the detainment area completely empty. Where was the head of security? Surely he would have been here, supervising Nathaniel.

A curious sound touched her ears. Laughter? That was odd. Cheryl peered into one of the cell rooms. Empty. A bit unnerved, she moved past the empty cell and down the hallway, the sound of chatting voices growing louder. As she glanced past the window to the second detainment room, she did a double take. Inside, Nathaniel and the gruff chief of security were talking like old friends. After a moment, Cheryl pushed through the door, a very 'I demand to know what's going on here before you lose your job' expression prominent on her face.

The chief of security, a tall man with a weathered face, immediately jumped to attention. "Ms. Pascal! You should know better than to come to the detainment area by yourself. Er, I was just-"

"-Chatting with the prisoner, completely forgetting that Father pays you to guard, not gossip?" Cheryl said flatly. The chief of security looked down with embarrassment. Cheryl eyed Nathaniel curiously. Did those two know each other?

"Please, allow me to escort you back to the ball room. You shouldn't be near such a dangerous person." The chief of security said weakly. Cheryl pushed the stack of papers into his face irritably. "Release orders. Straight from Father."

The chief of security skimmed over them, quickly handing back the papers to Cheryl with a hurried, "Everything seems in order. Feel free to take Nathaniel back to the ballroom. But, erm, please don't tell Mr. Pascal about this."

Cheryl ignored him, grabbing Nathaniel's hand as she pulled him out into the hallway. Despite her annoyance with the chief of security's carelessness, she felt a trill of delight when she saw Nathaniel blush as she grabbed his hand.

The two stood there for moment, the hallway perfectly still save for the chief of security, who had edged out of the cell room awkwardly before slowly slipping towards his office. Nathaniel watched him for a moment before telling Cheryl lazily, "Nice man. His son just started playing the piano."

"You know him?" Cheryl asked curiously. Nathaniel flapped his hand offhandedly, responding happily. "I don't even know his name. We just started talking as he was escorting me to my cell."

Cheryl looked at him curiously, something she found herself doing more often every second she was with him. Nathaniel did have a curious ability to make people feel at ease near him. The young man leaned up against the side of the wall, humming gently. Cheryl looked at him for a moment, before finally saying, "C'mon, let's get out of here." With a quick turn, she moved towards the exit.

Cheryl walked quietly down the hallway, Nathaniel close at her heels. The green-eyed man moved with a lazy confidence, a curiously fluid gait that swept him across the carpet. Cheryl glanced at the smiling Nathaniel out of the corner of her eye. He was . . . strange. His movements, his mannerisms, there was an odd rhythm to the way he passed through life. They turned a corner sharply, as Cheryl led Nathaniel aboard a gilded elevator. With a resounding clang, the gold doors of mesh shut, as the elevator slowly descended down the floors of Pascal Manor.
“Where are we going?” Nathaniel inquired pleasantly.

Cheryl felt a tinge of red color her cheeks as she said very curtly, “You asked me out for tea earlier, didn’t you?”

Nathaniel grinned. “Great! Er, I’m afraid I’m a bit new to Soleil City. I don’t exactly know any good tea shops.”

“That’s fine.” Cheryl responded. “I've lived here since I was a kid, so I know the entire city from top to bottom.” A trace of bitterness snuck into her voice at the end, and Cheryl prayed Nathaniel hadn’t noticed. She stood close to the door, in front of Nathaniel, yet she could still feel his startlingly beautiful emerald eyes locked on her head. There was a moment of electrified silence, broken only by the sound of the doors grinding open. Cheryl stepped quickly into the opulent foyer. She had the feeling Nathaniel wanted to say something, but was greeted only by silence as the two pushed through the heavy front gate of the manor and into the garden.

The garden was only about fifty feet long and fifteen feet wide, yet it was as if someone had tried to cram as much beauty into the small stretch of land as possible. Hundreds of colors peeked from the petals of flowers that dotted the area like toadstools. Birds sung shrilly in the afternoon sun.
Cheryl stared straight ahead while walking, avoiding any thought about the decadent garden. Within a moment, the green had faded to gray as the two emerged onto the cobbled streets of Soleil City. Cheryl exhaled deeply. Sure, the curious passersby might have been awed by the resplendent garden in front of the governor’s manor. But to Cheryl, it was nothing but a disgusting bloom of frilly colors, empty of any real beauty. Nathaniel commented softly, “It all seems a bit hollow, doesn’t it?”

Cheryl nodded in agreement. “I hate the place. It’s almost claustrophobic. Everything is just so fake, You can’t hear the birds singing, or see the beauty of the flowers, even when they're right in your face. All you feel is the emptiness. It’s like, it’s like—“

“—the place isn’t real at all?” Nathaniel asked. Cheryl nodded. “I only ever go to Father’s manor when I have to. The moment I finished college, I got my own place and never looked back. Well, I tried to anyway.”

Cheryl gazed upward at the Manor. Music thrummed faintly from the ballroom window. Neately dressed people could be seen chatting. So shallow. So small. So indifferent to the rest of the world. Cheryl gave one final dark look to the ballroom, before turning. "Let's go."


----------------------------------------------


"It's a pleasant place, isn't it?" Nathaniel commented idly. The two of them were seated outside a small teashop to the north of the city. Sunlight illuminated the street, an unusual mix of slush colored stones of gray and bright light of gold. A warm, brick-red parasol shaded their table, as Cheryl felt the cacophony of the city envelope her. This was where she belonged. Not shut up in a manor, trapped in a web of politics, but here in the city street, able to actually join society rather than stare glumly at it.

Cheryl stirred a clump of sugar in her tea lazily, leaning on one arm against the warm black frame of the table. "Who are you, anyways?" She asked Nathaniel.

He winked. "Like I told your friend Anthony. I'm just a humble music box maker, passing through Soleil City with the hopes of catching a glimpse of the Lights of Paris."

Cheryl looked at him with amusement. "You really expect me to believe that?"

"Not at all. Would you mind passing me a muffin?"

Their idle talk carried them through the afternoon. Cheryl felt herself laugh, sincerely, for the first time in months. Despite is calm, easy demeanor, Nathaniel was also warm. He wasn't political in his politeness, but easy with it. He felt like someone that Cheryl could trust.

Nathaniel rested his head on his fist, smiling. "Do you want to go to the movies next week? I heard they're doing a classics weekend. Un Coeur en Hiver, Jean de Florette and Manon Des Sources are all playing this Sunday."

Cheryl perked up. "Manon of the Spring? I loved that movie! Father used to take me to see it every weekend when . . ." She trailed off. Memories of warm summer nights sprung to mind. Back when she could still see Father as a person, as someone she could care about. Those times were long gone. "I didn't know you were a film buff, Nathaniel." She said rather quickly, hoping to change the subject.

Nathaniel shrugged amiably, "I'm a lot of things."

"'Annoying' is the one that springs to mind first." Cheryl said. "Are you really so incapable of giving a straight answer?"

Nathaniel laughed. "A straight answer? What fun would that be?"

Cheryl smiled in spite of herself, taking a bite out of her muffin. Suddenly, a sharp ping sounded throughout the street. It was an innocent sound, like the amplified ring of a pin dropping. But the moment it sounded, Nathaniel stiffened, standing up and holding Cheryl closer to him. “Time to go, Cheryl. Try to keep your head down.” Cheryl’s face went bright red. She was so close she could hear Nathaniel’s heartbeat.

Suddenly, a stall nearby exploded. Strips of fragmented wood, banners, cloth, and fruit were blown in every direction. Nathaniel guided Cheryl gently through the street as more stalls were blown apart. Cheryl pulled away, blank with shock, “What the hell was that?”

Nathaniel held her hand gently. “I’m really sorry about this Cheryl, but don’t worry, everything will be fine.”

A black car that looked like a miniature hearse screamed down the road, roaring over the cobbled stones and pulling to a stop in front of Cheryl and Nathaniel. The back door popped open and Cheryl was bemusedly ushered inside. The two of them fell into the back seat, the chairs a soft, red satin. An odd thing to notice, Cheryl thought, when your world is falling apart. But then, odd things do tend to happen when the world falls apart, don’t they?

“Move aside for a moment, Nathaniel.” A cool voice commented from the front seat. Cheryl turned and caught sight of a dark figure with icy blue eyes, his arm stretching forward towards her. The last thing she felt was the rustling of fabric, Nathaniel’s indignant protests, and the smell of lemons.

Then there was nothing.


Interlude

When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results.
-Warren Buffet



Cheryl's eyes slowly pulled themselves open. She tried to look around, but a fog laid heavily on her mind, and she could barely think, much less process her surroundings.

Cheryl coughed, feeling an unusual dryness in her throat. She mumbled blearily, trying to string together two coherent thoughts. Slowly, the world began to come back to her. She had been at Father's manor, hadn't she? No, that wasn't right. Hadn't she left with Nathaniel?

Cheryl blinked. Nathaniel! Everything came back to her. Her date, the explosions, Nathaniel pushing her into that car, and that man with the cold eyes who had knocked her out with some chemical. She immediately leapt to her feet, the chair behind her toppling to the ground.

"Cheryl!" A voice said brightly from behind her. The woman swiveled furiously, finding herself face to face with-


----------------------------------------------


Nathaniel sighed heavily. He had told Francis about twenty times that the chloroform was entirely unnecessary. Damn it, this wasn't how it was supposed to happen.

It was supposed to be a clean mission, grab the daughter of Gregory Pascal, draw her blood, then dump her on the side of the road. But, there was something about Cheryl that Nathaniel found fascinating. She was engaging, witty, and he couldn't help liking her. He had spent half an hour arguing with Van Raine that she at least deserved at explanation. Sure, it wasn't "according to plan", but after spending the day with her, Nathaniel couldn't bring himself to leave her in the dark. Francis didn't like it, of course. Then again, Francis didn't like a lot of things.

Suddenly, a large crash sounded in the room. Nathaniel stood up in surprise as he saw Cheryl leap to her feet, sending her chair toppling to the ground. "Cheryl!" He said brightly. Cheryl turned around quickly, her curly, white-blond tresses swirling at her movement. Nathaniel smiled cheerfully, telling her, "Glad to see you're awa-"

Nathaniel wasn't sure quite what happened. All he knew was that one moment he had been talking, the next, something hard had collided with his face and sent him bemusedly crashing to the floor.

Cheryl stood above him, fist extended and a furious expression on her face. "Nathaniel, what the hell is going on!"

"Er, it's sort of a long story." Nathaniel said as he rose to his feet. A lock of hair fell over Cheryl's hazel eyes, her eyebrows angled down sharply in a way that seethed both anger and defiance. Nathaniel couldn't help smiling at it. Inside, he winced at how cliché it sounded, but Cheryl looked cute when she was angry.

"How are you still so at ease!" Cheryl exploded, her rage practically knocking Nathaniel over. "You just kidnapped me!"

"My, my. Having a lovers tiff, are we, Nathaniel?"

A cold, quiet voice came from the door way, amusement dripping off of it. Nathaniel turned around, frowning. "Francis. What is it? Come here to gawk?"

Francis chuckled, adjusting his glasses. "As much as it amuses me to watch you get beaten up by a girl, I'm here on Van Raine's orders. She wants to see you two on the double."

Nathaniel glanced out of the corner of his eyes, seeing Cheryl stiffen. Her knuckles were white, and Nathaniel had a feeling that if he didn't step in, she was about to plant her fist firmly in Francis Pasteur's face. He grabbed her hand, leaning over and muttering swiftly in her ear. "Now's not the place. Try to stay calm, at least for the moment."

Cheryl face was red with anger, but she nodded at Nathaniel's words. Francis gave them one last condescending look before turning and exiting the room.

Nathaniel led her through the twisting hallways, oak of gothic design framing the walls. Windows lined the halls, letting in long panels of light, but because each window was composed of elegant stained glass it was impossible to see through them. Nathaniel glanced backwards to see Cheryl's face. When they had planned this entire thing out, Nathaniel had no idea what Gregory Pascal's daughter was going to be like. He hadn't quite thought about the human aspect of this entire oiled machinery of plotting, but he supposed he would have expected Cheryl to be frightened. Yet her face was defiant, confidant, wearing her emotions on her sleeves with a fiery passion. Each time they passed a window, colors danced across their faces, illuminating them with deep shades of wine red, dusky gold and cream blue. Nathaniel always loved these hallways, and had taken to wandering them aimlessly the last few days. As he looked ahead, he saw Francis had come to a top at the end of the hallway.

"We're here." Francis said calmly, gesturing at a heavy, simple, chocolate colored door. "Nathaniel." Cheryl spoke up, inquiring quietly, "Who's Van Raine? The name sounds familiar, but
I . . ." She trailed off, a frown marking her features. Nathaniel gave her a wink. "You'll find out soon enough. Don't worry, she's much more likeable than Francis." With that, he pulled on the brass doorknob and led the three of them into the room.

Lining the walls were bookshelves, their contents neat and organized. Books upon books filled them, of every color, shape and size imaginable. Besides them, however, the room was completely bare save for a large, graceful desk at the head of the room. The enormous stained glass window behind it let in streams of dappled sunlight in a cacophony of color. The light fell across the room, waxing and waning like something otherworldly. Seated at the desk, a calm and composed expression on her face, was Van Raine.

"Van Raine, I've brought them." Francis said politely, his cold voice out of place in the warm, cozy room. As he spoke, Nathaniel couldn't help glancing Francis's eyes. He remembered how their cold, expressionless, ice-blue gaze had disturbed him greatly the first time they had met. To anyone who didn't know the man behind them, those eyes were a terrifying thing.

"Thank you, Francis. Would you mind putting on some tea?" Van Raine said kindly. Nathaniel gave a badly stifled chuckle. If anyone but Van had said that, Francis probably would have dropped a scathing and obscene comment before exiting the room. However, he simply nodded calmly before leaving. As Francis left, Van Raine turned her attention to Cheryl and Nathaniel, brushing a lock of long, silver hair out of her face. "Hello Cheryl. It's nice to see you again."

Cheryl looked faintly surprised. "'Again?' I don't think I've ever . . ." A look of dawning comprehension slowly came over her face. "Wait a minute! You're Governor Raine, from Loire-Cross! I remember you from one of Father's social parties!"

Van Raine gave a sincere smile. "You've certainly grown up since the last time I saw you. I remember the last time we met, you were only 11. Followed your father everywhere he went, as I recall."

Cheryl frowned as Van Raine said this, looking down. "What was it you wanted to see me about? And why was I kidnapped?"

Van Raine folded her hands pleasantly, giving off a very diplomatic demeanor. "You're familiar with the Lights of Paris, no?"

Cheryl raised an eyebrow. "Of course I am. You can't live in Soleil City and not have heard of them."

Van Raine looked at her closely, but said nothing. Nathaniel glanced at the two women, letting a moment of quietude go by before finally asking Cheryl, "What would you say if I told you someone wanted to destroy the Lights?"

Cheryl looked appalled. "Destroy the Lights? How? Why? They provide energy for nearly all of France! Are you saying some anarchist group is trying to get rid of them?"

"This anarchist group, to be exact." Van Raine said cheerfully, gesturing at herself and Nathaniel. Cheryl's mouth fell open, and for the first time since Nathaniel had met her, she appeared lost for words.

There was absolute silence in the room, broken only by Francis entering with a softly whistling kettle.

The trickling of water sounded as four cups were slowly filled with tea. Fingering his ponytail, Nathaniel took a cup, sipping it quietly as he watched Cheryl. There was a moment of silence, when suddenly Cheryl found her voice and exploded, "So that's it!? You're nothing but a bunch of terrorists!?"

Nathaniel sighed. This was going a bit different than how he had imagined it. Van Raine, however, seemed unperturbed, and simply told Francis and Nathaniel, "Would you mind leaving me and Ms. Pascal for a moment? I would like to speak with her in private."

Francis immediately left through the main door. Nathaniel got the feeling he didn't like being around Cheryl. He rose, giving Cheryl a sympathetic look, before exiting the room. As the door slammed shut behind him, Nathaniel moved into the hallway resignedly. Francis gave him a look. "Having lady troubles already? That isn't like you."

Nathaniel leaned back against the wall, resting his arms behind his head. "There's something about Cheryl that's special."

"If by special you mean loud and annoying, then yes, she is very special."

Nathaniel glanced at Francis neutrally, before finally saying, "I don't expect you to understand."

"I think I understand a lot better than you do, Nathaniel."



----------------------------------------------

҉


Cheryl eyed Van Raine wearily. The Governor of Loire-Cross sipped calmly from a cup of tea, her expression staying perfectly pleasant. Cheryl had fond memories of Van Raine, though she hadn't seen her in years. As she recalled, Father and Governor Raine had a sort of falling out, and hadn't spoken in a while. As Cheryl stared at Van Raine, she felt a flicker of unease deep inside her. Now that she thought about it, whenever she had asked Father why "the nice lady" had stopped visiting, he would never give her a straight answer. As she got older, Cheryl had stowed those thoughts away to be forgotten, but now they were rising up to the surface once more.

Eyeing Van Raine carefully, Cheryl finally asked, "What's going on?"

"That is a difficult question."

"Does it have anything to do with why you stopped visiting my Father?" Cheryl said insistently.

Van Raine looked at Cheryl appraisingly. "Yes, it does. It seems you're sharper than what Francis gives you credit for."

Cheryl snorted. "Francis is an ass. I couldn't care less about what he things."

Van Raine looked at her tea cup with mild interest. "Francis is a complicated person. Don't judge him too swiftly."

"You're avoiding my question."

Van Raine chuckled. "It seems that way, doesn't it. Very well then, tell me what you know about the Lights of Paris."

Cheryl glared at Van Raine. How could anyone want to destroy the Lights? It was absolute madness. After brief deliberation, Cheryl decided that everyone here was insane. Even Nathaniel. No, especially Nathaniel. What kind of sociopath spends so much time creating a perfect pretense of friendship and love, just for the sake of kidnapping someone? It was disturbing to think everything that had come out of his mouth was nothing more than a perfectly coordinated lie. No, it was beyond disturbing. The fact that everything Nathaniel had done, his calm, friendly demeanor and gentle voice, had been nothing but an act was unbearable.

"You look like you've got a lot on your mind." Van Raine said calmly.

"You're the cause of it, you know."

"I would guess so. Now, indulge me for a moment and answer my earlier inquiry. What do you know about the Lights of Paris?"

Cheryl sighed. " Everyone knows about them. You hardly need my information about them."

"Like I said, indulge me for a moment."

"Fine. Let's pretend you're completely ignorant. The Lights of Paris appeared after Paris was sucked through the giant Rift fifteen years ago. They seem similar to the Aurora Borealis, but rise in a perfectly straight line, and never fade away. Thirteen years ago, Father figured out how to tap into them for energy-"

The lamp above them flickered with an unpleasant buzz. Van Raine looked up with unusual alarm, before snapping back to Cheryl intently. "Go on."

Somewhat perturbed, Cheryl continued. "Well, Father figured out how to tap into the lights for energy, and he became a hero. The entirety of France runs on the energy created from his power plants, and the boost in tourism to see the Lights made Soleil City incredibly wealthy. And now, apparently, a group of nut cases are trying to destroy everything he achieved."

To her surprise, Van Raine smiled. "As I thought. Now then, Cheryl, have you ever been to the Lights close up? Within touching distance, I mean?"

"Why on Earth would-?"

"As I've stated before, Cheryl. Indulge me."

Cheryl gave a heavy sigh. "No, I haven't."

"Exactly!" Van Raine crowed triumphantly, leaping to her feet. "No one knows a thing about the Lights!"

Cheryl backed up slowly. Van Raine looked excited, her composure and calmness gone. She continued. "No one knows the truth about the Lights. Anything I would say would be covered up by Gregory, your father. Only Francis, Thalia, Nathaniel and Elliot were able to figure it out on their own."

She snapped back to Cheryl. "Have you ever visited the slums and farmlands close to Paris."

"Erm, no."

"And have you noticed that people have stopped moving in from the slums lately? There used to be many immigrants coming from the countryside to find jobs in the wealthy Soleil City, to bask in the wealth your father supposedly blessed all of France with."

Cheryl stopped. What was Van Raine implying? "What-"

Van Raine cut her off, saying triumphantly. "Gregory Pascal has prevented anyone from entering Soleil City from the countryside. Enforcers guard the slums to prevent anyone from leaving."

Cheryl fell back. No, that was impossible. "Why would Father do that?" Cheryl shouted, desperation sneaking into her voice.

Van Raine fell back as well, seating herself and running a hand through her long, silver hair. "I'm sorry. I lost myself for a moment there. I didn't mean to dump that on you quite so quickly. But you need to know the truth. Nathaniel insisted on it, if I recall. Now, to answer your question, Governor Pascal has prevented anyone from leaving the slums so no one can find out about the true damage the Lights have been causing. 'There's no such thing as a free meal.' How could anyone think that the Lights of Paris were some free, miraculous godsend, devoid of any consequence? The power within them has begun to go out of control, and is tearing apart the countryside of Paris. Within two months, it will reach Soleil City, destroy it, then go into overdrive, traveling across the world and decimating everything in its way. Unless someone destroys them, we are all living on borrowed time."

Cheryl felt the world spiral away from her. Van Raine's voice faded away as the numb grip of shock slowly crawled up her finger tips. Her Father had done this.

With a shaky voice, Cheryl asked, "How do you know this is true?"

Van Raine sighed. "I have seen firsthand how destructive the Lights are. I've felt how destructive the Lights are."

Van Raine slowly began to pull at her hand, and for the first time, Cheryl noticed she was wearing white, militaristic gloves. As she pulled the glove on her left hand off, Cheryl caught her breath. There was no real hand under it. Instead, there was a network of twisting metal wires, Plexiglas, and elegant metal machines. Van Raine eyed her hand with mild interest, before commenting sadly to Cheryl, "I lost my left arm when I was pushed off the edge of a viewing platform on one of your fathers power plants into the Lights of Paris. It is certainly a unique type of agony, to be caught in the Lights." Van Raine watched Cheryl closely for a moment before pulling her glove back on. She said softly. "I was lucky only my left hand was caught. If it had been even an inch farther, my head might have been ripped off."

Cheryl looked down. She had always hated the prim organization and order to her life, the gilded cage that surrounded her as a result of Father. But at any point, did she ever truly hate him? She had detested her life, and at many times resented Father. But hated him? In a way, she had admired him. Most people always have. But Van Raine had brought her image of Father crashing down around her.

As the two of them stared at each other, Cheryl's gaze week and shaky, Van Raine's cool and composed, a single memory came to Cheryl's mind. That tune from over fifteen years ago, the gentle melody that had always played at the theatre on Cable Road. The sound of Father's laughter as he took a sis year old Cheryl to the theatre mingled with the music. But as Cheryl looked past Van Raine, into the foggy glass of the window, she felt the memory slip away from her. She felt the man she had held hands with and adored die within her. That man wasn't there anymore. Cheryl began to wonder if he had ever existed at all.

isaiah
March 12th, 2012, 06:51 PM
Hello Nevermore

I would like to start out by congratulating you on competent writing skills, which sometimes, seem to be few and far between these days. The first opening paragraph felt a little 'rugged' to me, but this could be because I have not read chapter 1, and thus do not know the characters or any background. This is not a serious problem though. However, stylistically you have chosen to use a relatively heavy amount of adjectives and adverbs in the first paragraph. This isn't a bad thing, and it isn't wrong unless it is poorly done. I wouldn't say yours is poorly done, just that I prefer a lesser amount of descriptive words. This is just my personal taste, however, so know that I have not mentioned this as an area that you should change, but as something you should be aware of in case you weren't. I think it stood out slightly more in the first paragraph because it was a bit heavier than in the following paragraphs. Also, I noticed beginning at paragraph 10 you used the word curious or the adverb curiously repeatedly about four times I think. It became slightly redundant and this is easily fixed with synonyms.


“—the place isn’t real at all?” Nathaniel asked. Cheryl nodded. “I only ever go to Father’s manor when I have to. The moment I finished college, I got my own place and never looked back. Well, I tried to anyway.” In this section, the first piece of dialogue is obviously Nathaniel. However, I am unsure if the second part that follows (speaking of Father's manor) is Cheryl or Nathaniel's dialogue. My assumption is that it is Cheryl, but it is still a bit unclear. This could be simply fixed with a paragraph indentation. I believe it is grammatically correct to indent the paragraph when the dialogue switches from one character to another. But no indentation is required if it is the same character. Someone please correct me on this if I am wrong.

Due to time constraints this is all I am able to offer at the moment. I'll be reviewing the rest as soon as time allows, so keep an eye out for my follow up. Soon... :)

- Isaiah Zakharov

Nevermore
March 12th, 2012, 08:46 PM
Thanks a lot for the review! I do plan on doing some editing on the first paragraph, and have been told about the excess adverbs. I'll go over it again this afternoon with everything you said. Again, thanks for reviewing.

isaiah
March 14th, 2012, 11:59 PM
Hello again Nevermore

Here's my follow up review I promised :)
Sunlight illuminated the street, an unusual mix of slush colored stones of gray and bright light of gold. The double "of" usage in this sentence I think should be reworked. It caught me the first time and I had to reread the sentence. You certainly don't want the reader to stop suddenly, unless of course it is part of a dramatic effect or something intentional. Not a big deal, perhaps just some simple rearranging of the sentence will do. For instance, you might word it as such; Sunlight illuminated the street, an unusual mix of gray stones colored by bright golden light. Or something similar.

I noticed a small typographical error here. I believe this should be "his calm, easy demeanor..."
Despite is calm, easy demeanor, Nathaniel was also warm.
I thought the usage of the word 'felt' could be revised to 'remembered' here. You said she felt, but then the sensory changes to smelling lemons, and I think it reads better if she remembers Nathaniel's indignant protest. It is still your choice however.
The last thing she felt was the rustling of fabric, Nathaniel’s indignant protests, and the smell of lemons.
Another typographical error here.
He had spent half an hour arguing with Van Raine that she at least deserved at explanation. I believe this should be "...that she at least deserved an explanation." And here:
Cheryl face was red with anger, but she nodded at Nathaniel's words. Probably should be "Cheryl's ​face was red with anger..."

I would consider possibly revising the last part of this sentence.
He hadn't quite thought about the human aspect of this entire oiled machinery of plotting, but he supposed he would have expected Cheryl to be frightened. I would maybe write it like, "He hadn't quite thought about the human aspect of this entire oiled machinery of plotting, but he supposed Cheryl would have been frightened." Try reading it and see what you think. You could also use "expected" in place of supposed. It's entirely up to you.

Another typographical. It should be stop.
...Francis had come to a top at the end of the hallway.
I thought this was seemingly contradictory from the way I interpreted it.
"Nathaniel." Cheryl spoke up, inquiring quietly, I think if Cheryl is speaking up, she shouldn't also be inquiring quietly. That's just my opinion based on my interpretation. Handle that however you wish.

One more thing. It's a little adjective heavy in some places, mainly regarding scenery, but nothing terrible. That's a matter of your style and voice as a writer. But I did think it was important to mention. This is all I'm able to assist you with for now, but I'll finish up in my next post.

This is a good read. I'm enjoying this a lot, even though I don't really know what's going on. But that's a good thing; to keep me wondering about the mysterious characters. Also, in a lot of the scenes, the European vibe was easily detected, which is also a good thing. I don't totally know where the story is going yet, but I'm very intrigued. Keep up the good work and I'll see you next time.

- Isaiah Zakharov

isaiah
March 15th, 2012, 12:09 AM
Sorry to double post, but the formatting in my post is wrong. It seems to be removing the lines I added to make the post neater. Any way to fix this? Is there any way to indent?

EDIT: I think I might have fixed it.