PDA

View Full Version : Apocalypse Pending (Short, 260 Words)



Unseen
April 3rd, 2012, 12:59 PM
NOW MORE THAN 260 WORDS!

Update April 08 - Part One Revision

Update 1 April 06 - Added Part One.
Update 2 April 06 - Corrected all noticable grammar and puncuation errors in the first three paragraphs of Part One.
Update 3 April 06 - Added new paragraphs to Part One.
Update 1 April 05 - New Intro.




Part One

His torn and tattered duster scrapes against the uneven concrete. He grips the girls small hand tightly, Cloud breathes heavily as he rushes them through an alley. Being careful not to kick any of the trash that would give away their position. A difficult task considering the overflow of trash from the nearby disposal junctions. Long abandoned with nobody to attend to the waste. His feet weighed down by the nearly knee high accumulation of cigarette butts that cover the ground like snow. Yellow, cancer filled snow

They've been running for what seems like a countless amount of time they seem have outrun their pursuers, for now. . Growing weak, tired and malnourished. Looking for a place to spend the Darker Time. The Darker Time is when it becomes nearly impossible to see in the darkness. The sun had been blotted out by the clouds long ago darkening the world. Although there was nearly no light to begin with, It became even darker when the sun transfers to the other side of the planet. He spots an open doorway of a ruined building with a busted frame towards the end of the alley, before it opens up into the street and decides to seek refuge..

“Stay here while I look inside,” He whispers as quietly as he can to the girl through his breathing mask, She nods her head. Getting in to position and readying his double barrel shotgun, He enters the building through the busted door frame. He clears the room, mostly empty besides a tipped over metal shelf, a boarded up window, one other door still intact and a third door crushed from the rubble of the rest of this wrecked building. He approaches the intact door and reaches for the handle, It's locked.

“It's safe. You can come in now,” He says. Without hearing a response, he hurries back out the building to find her still standing in the same spot. Seeing through her mask that her eyes are open wide with fear. He crouches and turns to see down the alley and into the street, Nothing there. “What is it?” He asks her with alarm in his voice. She shakes her head and takes his hand, Pulling him back into the building. He is confused by her behavior yet decides it's safe enough to sleep there and unrolls their sleeping bags that have been sewn together from old discarded cloths.

“Will you tell me a story?” The girl asks lightly as she sits on her sleeping bag. Cloud tries to think of something to tell her. He only knows of mostly horror stories.

“Of Course! I know the perfect story to tell you,” He exclaims remembering something. He has heard stories of a time long ago before the 'Great Oil Spill of 2020'. A time where violence had almost been completely eradicated. The only violent presence was that of the 'Overwatch'. Overwatch was a Private Military Company funded by 'Secure Company'. While other national military groups were being disbanded, Over-watch enforced the streets of all major cities. With a increase in the birth rate and most companies being put of business by machines that could work faster and more effectively than a human, finding mercenaries for this was not an issue.

The stories he has heard consist mostly of when people could purchase homes and live in them. He has heard of food that was delivered directly to peoples houses. “There once was a beautiful girl who lived in a house, It had all its doors and there were no holes in the walls. No windows were missing and Her rooms were filled with candles for light, So she could see where she was going even when it was really dark. She tended a large garden full of flowers.”

“What's a garden flower?” The girl interrupted.

He had forgotten that she had never had a Protector Polymath. His protectors had all died but one, Who taught him things considered forgotten by the rest of the world, including how to speak words with fluency. He was commonly referred to as “The Wizard” for having possessed knowledge considered by most to be magical. The Wizard however, knew better then to believe in a foolish thing such as magic. He taught this to Cloud and everything else he could manage before his death. The Wizard became infected. Knowing this, he offered his worn 12 gauge shotgun to Cloud and told him exactly what to do to him when he started to turn. They had one last conversation.

“You may think there's no hope left...” The Wizard wheezed, followed by violent coughing.
“Ugh...” While he wiped the blood from his mouth, “That there's no hope left for any of us. Well your wrong. You can't give up hope, someday the sun will shine through the clouds. There has to be plant life existing still somewhere on the planet. Without that we would not be alive now, even with these masks,” The Wizard sighed, removed his breathing mask and handed it to Cloud. “Here, this one's in better condition than yours. Plus, you'll never know when you might need a second mask... for someone else,” He said tiredly while he held the mask.

Cloud looked up from his cold stare at the shotgun in his lap. Slowly he reached for the mask. The last thing he saw the Wizard doing was smiling at him. He took a deep breath and swapped breathing masks. As his sight cleared the breathing apparatus he peered through his new lenses. The Wizards face had become contorted and his blood oozed from his ears, eyes and mouth.

“Goodbye, Find the flower!” The Wizard wheezed out with his last breath and grabbed the barrel of the shotgun, pointing it to his forehead and pulling the trigger.

Cloud pushes the memory far back into the darkness of his mind. “A flower is a beautiful plant. They used to be all around. I know it's hard to see out there now, but the ground used to be a large field of color. They're all gone now, but there has to be at least one left somewhere if there's a girl as beautiful as you around. I'll show you someday I promise.” he said sincerely.

“Do you really Promise?” She asked with a curiosity in her voice.

“I really do. Now lay down and relax. Listen, so I can tell you this story.”

After getting the girl to fall asleep he rests his head upon his sleeping bag. Wishing that things could be better for them. He feels hopeless. The only thing he can do is try to keep her alive. Looking back on the story he had told her, He can't imagine how nice it would be to have the now non-existent real food instead of the rare artificial food rations. Nonetheless delivered directly to you by a human being who has no interest in taking everything you have, including your life. He wishes she could eat and live like that. To be able to breathe the air without worrying about airborne bacteria or parasites.

Without their self sustaining core powered, Laser filter breathing masks they would contract disease and infection upon inhalation of the unfiltered air. The laser filter has a cooling device built in to reduce the heat created from the radiation and a new filter is an extremely rare find. Through years of “sterilization” of the earths surface combined with endless pollutants being pumped into the atmosphere had created a world wide epidemics of numberless diseases. The air is polluted with adapting bacteria that constantly mutate into new forms and parasites capable of semi-controlling their hosts.

The most common parasite infection occurs in the central nervous system, where it reproduces. They send flesh eating bacteria through the body using the bloodstream as a way travel to different areas to collect the necessary nutrients from the host. The hosts usually show one or more of the following symptoms:

Amnesia.
Blindness.
Bloodshot eyes.
Bleeding from single or multiple orifices. Caused by internal hemorrhaging.
Bruising.
Delusional behavior.
Early Decomposition.
Loss of motor skills and communication abilities.
Nausea
Partial or full paralysis.

Those infected by these parasites slowly die. Losing their sanity and becoming dangerous and unpredictable. Cloud avoids them as much as possible to avoid risk of infection. They will attempt to bite, where the parasite can transfer most easily between hosts.

A loud banging wakes him up suddenly. The girl already huddled in the corner. Another loud bang comes from behind the locked door and he grabs his shotgun. He aims at the door and the noise stops. His heart pumps a rush of blood to his head and he feels a rush of adrenaline. Having only shot a weapon once before, he gets nervous and his hands begin to shake. “I think we should go,” He said, lowering his shotgun.

“AAH!” The girl screams as an infected man barrels through the faulty boarded up window and attacks her. Startled, Cloud turns quickly and raises his shotgun.

“Move!” He yells as the infected man screeches and goes in to bite her. BANG! He pulls the trigger.




End of Part One

That's all currently. The older stuff is not gone, it just happens later on. Will explain in due time. Just asking for a little bit more critique. I appreciate every comment! Nothing is taken offensively and all comments will be considered, thank you again.





EVERYTHING BELOW THIS LINE IS OLD AND UN-EDITED!!!
________________________________________________



Updated April 03



This is just a very, very small paragraph, that I eventually round up just cutting into two separate paragraphs so it could be read easier. It's the first paragraph of the story. Although I have much more worked up, I'm only trying to examine this selection in particular. The only piece of information missing from here is the introduction of the character. I will add an effective way of introducing the character when I'm ready. For the moment, the lead characters name is Cloud.
So, Hopefully, Enjoy ...


The scream rang out in his ears like a high pitch siren. "HELP!" The prolonged scream echoed in his head. *(Seeing nothing, only hearing cries of pain and screams for help.)* The sounds of footsteps in the distance snaps him out of the nightmare and he awakes in his sleeping bag made of discarded cloths. He grabs his shotgun from beside him and holds it close like love. Unfortunately, That will be the closest thing to love he will ever be able to have. A short sawed off double barrel shotgun, It only carries two shells at a time. With only one shell, he rests the handle between his knees and lightly sets his finger on the trigger.

The sound of footsteps are coming closer to his position. The inevitability of being found by them weighs heavy on his conscience and he tenses up on the trigger. He holds his breath as the footsteps stop. A window in a nearby building across the street shatters, Leading to incomprehensible shouting. He pulls the barrel away from his face, uncovers and straightens up. Peering through the boarded up window of a desolate building. A group of three men wielding sharp and blunt object weapons, enter the other building through the smashed window. Cloud, Realizing their current occupation, Takes this opportunity to put distance between him and them. He adjusts his breathing mask and sprints for the back door of the building. Ducking out through a hole in the wall, He descends into a nearby sewer. Well familiar with the old tunnels, he makes his way south.


End of writing
*-Deleting or Replacing
Please tell me how you feel when you read this. Full descriptions of your opinions will be greatly appreciated. Also, A description of the how the imagery worked for you would be nice. To me, the most important part is what you see while you're reading this.

To voice a few of my concerns.
I'm worried that:

A. Not enough action/ or the effect of the tension, if any, that is created.

B. It's not interesting enough to catch attention and interest, nonetheless hold it through the reading.

C. Not enough information is given for a solid story. I'm aware it's not very fleshed out here.

D. Just generally, badly written.

Either way, I hope it was enjoyable to you the reader. Thank you for reading!

Chaeronia
April 3rd, 2012, 03:36 PM
The scream rang out in his ears like a high pitch siren. "HELP!" The prolonged scream echoed in his head. *(Seeing nothing, only hearing cries of pain and screams for help.)* Beware of needless repetition: your first two, potentially three, sentences say the same thing. You can make this tighter. The word 'scream' appears two/three times. The sounds of footsteps in the distance snaps him out of the nightmare and he awakes in his sleeping bag made of discarded cloths. You've changed tense from past to present. I know the opening sentences describe a dream, but the shift in tense is still off-putting. He grabs his shotgun from beside him and holds it close like love. Not sure this similie works. 'Love' as a comparative noun seems awkward here. Unfortunately, Tthat will be the closest thing to love he will ever be able to have. A short comma sawed off hyphenate sawed-off double barrel hyphenate double-barrel or even remove it -'sawed-off' is probably enough description shotgun, full stop, and consider putting this description in after 'Unfortunately' - 'Unfortunately, this short sawed-off shotgun will be the closest thing to love he will ever have.' It only carries two shells at a time. With only one shell, he rests the handle between his knees and lightly sets his finger on the trigger. The clauses in this sentence are too independent to be separated by just a comma. 'With only one shell' is irrelevant to him resting the handle and putting his finger on the trigger. Mention him only having one shell in the previous sentence, where it's more appropriate.

The sound of footsteps are coming closer to his position. The inevitability of being found by them weighs heavy on his conscience and he tenses up on the trigger. 'Weighs heavy' feels too ponderous, not spiky or urgent enough to be in-keeping with the tension you're creating He holds his breath as the footsteps stop. A window in a nearby building across the street shatters, Lleading to incomprehensible shouting. He pulls the barrel away from his face, uncovers and straightens up. Peering through the boarded up hyphenate boarded-up window of a desolate building... ? This sentence isn't finished A group of three men wielding sharp and blunt objects weapons, no comma needed enter the other building through the smashed window. Cloud, Rrealizing their current occupation, Ttakes this opportunity to put distance between him and them. He adjusts his breathing mask and sprints for the back door of the building. Ducking out through a hole in the wall, Hhe descends into a nearby sewer. Well familiar with the old tunnels, he makes his way south.



The lack of grammar and disjointed syntax gets in the way a little too much, I'm afraid, making it hard for me to give an opinion on the story itself.

Just needs a bit of cleaning up is all.

Potty
April 3rd, 2012, 04:14 PM
"He grabs his shotgun from beside him and holds it close like love." this could sound a bit better as: He held the gun close, like a lover.

My first impression is a zombie story. I'm interested to read more but as stated above, careful on the repititions. Also I think you may be prone to treating the reader like a bit of an idiot (Don't worry I do it too :D)

"A short sawed off double barrel shotgun, It only carries two shells at a time" Shortened double barrel shot gun would be better as most readers know what that is, also I think these have a common name "Lupara". Also most people would know double barrel means only two shells. I would change it to "Carrying only one shell" so the sentance would read:

He loaded only one shell into the double barreled Lupara and placed the end under his chin.

Name the Sky
April 3rd, 2012, 04:17 PM
Good start. I'm not sure how helpful this comment will be, but I find that when I'm starting a story, especially the first couple paragraphs or so, the best thing to do is just get words on the page. Even if you know you'll end up changing or deleting them later, anything you can put down will be helpful in the long run. That said, I try not to parse words at that stage in the process, because it only makes it harder to get going. So my suggestion to you would be instead of planning on introducing the character later, or worrying about specific sentences and phrases, just write everything you can for as long as you can and then come back to it later with fresh eyes. Why plan when you can just try, even if you aren't completely successful the first time out? Just my two cents on what has worked for me in the past, but otherwise I think you've definitely got some good ideas as far as where you're headed and I hope it works out for you.

Unseen
April 3rd, 2012, 04:51 PM
Thank you all for your comments. They are indeed, very helpful. I will work on these things that you mentioned above. When I have updated work, I'll release that here with more of the story. Also, Hopefully, Soon I'll be taking classes in creative writing.

Also, thank you Chaeronia (http://www.writingforums.com/members/chaeronia.html) for the detailed comment. You helped me notice a lot of mistakes I made on this piece. As for the past tense to present tense switch. It's a common problem i have that I'm trying to fix.

Terry D
April 3rd, 2012, 04:51 PM
The scream rang out in his ears like a high pitch siren. "HELP!" The prolonged scream echoed in his head. *(Seeing nothing, only hearing cries of pain and screams for help.)* The sounds of footsteps in the distance snaps him out of the nightmare and he awakes in his sleeping bag made of discarded cloths. He grabs his shotgun from beside him and holds it close like love. Unfortunately, That will be the closest thing to love he will ever be able to have. A short sawed off double barrel shotgun, It only carries two shells at a time. With only one shell, he rests the handle between his knees and lightly sets his finger on the trigger.

Chaeronia touches on many of the rough spots I saw, so I'll talk a little about word choice. In the paragraph above, a few thing jump out at me:

The scream rang out in his ears like a high pitch siren. -- sirens don't ring. They wail, they howl, they shriek, but they don't ring. Also, I think "high pitched" is a better choice than "high pitch".

Seeing nothing, only hearing cries of pain and screams for help. -- This doesn't work for me. You could get the same effect by rewriting the previous sentence; perhaps something like -- "HELP!" The prolonged scream echoed in the darkness of his mind.

and holds it close like love. -- I see what you are trying to do here, but it just misses the mark. Maybe if you said -- and holds it close, like a lover.


The sound of footsteps are coming closer to his position. The inevitability of being found by them weighs heavy on his conscience and he tenses up on the trigger. He holds his breath as the footsteps stop. A window in a nearby building across the street shatters, Leading to incomprehensible shouting. He pulls the barrel away from his face, uncovers and straightens up. Peering through the boarded up window of a desolate building. A group of three men wielding sharp and blunt object weapons, enter the other building through the smashed window. Cloud, Realizing their current occupation, Takes this opportunity to put distance between him and them. He adjusts his breathing mask and sprints for the back door of the building. Ducking out through a hole in the wall, He descends into a nearby sewer. Well familiar with the old tunnels, he makes his way south.

The inevitability of being found by them weighs heavy on his conscience and he tenses up on the trigger -- Reading this in context after the previous sentence it sounds like he's afraid of being found by the footsteps. Your meaning is clear, but it sounds clunky in my head as I read it. Just drop the 'by them' and everything smooths out. I'm also confused by your use of the word 'conscience', do you mean consciousness, as in, "weighed heavily on his thoughts?". Or do you actually mean the possibility of being found makes him feel guilty?

A window in a nearby building across the street shatters, Leading to incomprehensible shouting -- You only need 'a nearby building', or 'across the street', not both. Was the shattering of the window the cause of the shouting, or was it followed by incomprehensible shouting? The way this is currently written it sounds like someone got upset by a broken window and I don't think that is your meaning. I think you mean that the sound of the window breaking was followed by the shouting. It's a small difference, but a powerful one.

Peering through the boarded up window of a desolate building. A group of three men wielding sharp and blunt object weapons, enter the other building through the smashed window -- Who was peering through the boarded up window? I think it was Cloud, but these two sentences are telling me it was a group of three men. Also, be specific about the weapons, create a picture for me -- Peering through the boarded up window of his desolate building, Cloud watches as a group of three men, two with makeshift pikes and the third carrying a huge bludgeon of twisted metal, enter through the smashed window.

As for your specific concerns;


A. Not enough action/ or the effect of the tension, if any, that is created.

You have plenty going on here for two paragraphs. Not every paragraph needs to be non-stop action, in fact, that sort of writing never works. It get boring and will lose the reader.


B. It's not interesting enough to catch attention and interest, nonetheless hold it through the reading.

On the contrary, this is a tremendously interesting situation you've put Cloud in. It will pull the reader along nicely.


C. Not enough information is given for a solid story. I'm aware it's not very fleshed out here.

This is where you can strike that balance between action and exposition. Use the pauses between action sequences (which the reader needs) to build the depth of character, setting, and back-story which adds the flesh you are worried about.


D. Just generally, badly written.

Practice, practice, practice. Read the sort of stuff you want to write and study how the writers do the things you want to do. How do they choose their words? What is the pace and the rhythm of their stories? Read your own stories out loud to yourself and listen for the places that feel rough, or that just don't sound right. Then try different ways of saying the same thing. It takes a lot of work to make a bit of writing read like it was done easily. But, most of all, just stay at it!

Good luck.

Unseen
April 6th, 2012, 04:07 AM
Thank you for the comments. It helps me a lot, every comment.

Now updated with Part One, Essentially the begging or (Intro) of the story. Will add one more paragraph or at least sentence at the very beginning. No, they are not supposed to be zombies. When you see the behavior of the infected you will see what I mean. They are more suicidal then homicidal beings. Thank you again, Enjoy!

blyish
April 7th, 2012, 05:15 AM
Is the corrected version the one on your first post? It still has lots of grammar mistakes (I never saw the original one, so I don't know how much of an improvement this is). A few typos here and there are expected, but when you have lots of mistakes, it really distracts from the story. Have you considered joining a critique group or finding an editor to help work out those problems?