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Walt1093
May 16th, 2012, 01:31 AM
This is a historical fiction/ suspense novel that I have completed based in 1870s Central Africa. Here's the plot:

The discovery of the nineteenth century is made when a Belgian expedition stumbles upon a canyon 2000 feet deep in the Congo jungle. However, the dream turns into a nightmare when they become trapped inside, and preyed upon by prehistoric monsters thought to be extinct. An American missionary who went with them gives his account of the terrifying bloodbath that took place in "Death Valley".


Congo region of Africa, 1873
The boy’s crying voice made me jump, slicing a gash in my patient’s arm. Without panicking, I grabbed a bandage, quickly sealing off the blood. It was a good thing that the patient was unconscious. She was undergoing a minor surgery, and I was the only doctor for hundreds of miles. That boy who disturbed me was going to get an earful once I caught him. Wiping the blood off my hands, I exited the hut. The young man was running toward the doorway, with fear in his eyes. He was Juambe. Not the brightest lamp in the house, but a good boy nonetheless.
"Missionary! Come with me!" Juambe cried. I sighed, knowing that he was probably frightened by a passing crocodile in the river.
"Settle down son. What is it you want?" I said with a relaxed grin. The boy got even more excited, shaking his head and pointing in the opposite direction.
"Suala…. He is hurt! You m…. you must come now!" Juambe cried, trying to catch his breath from running. I knew it must have been quite an emergency. So, leaving my surgery patient in the hands of a nurse, I ran quickly to the river, where a crowd of natives were gathered.
The jungle humidity was at its worst, drenching my shirt with sweat, and making it difficult to breathe. People mumbled in their native tongue, pointing at something lying on the ground; obviously Suala. The young man must have been severely injured, he was crying out in pain. A large number of women were attending to Suala, trying to keep him alive until my arrival. They were good ladies, always looking after everyone, and aiding me in my medical clinic. Especially Kumasa. She was the oldest of the women, and the wisest.
My best nurse, as I called her, was leaning over the young man’s body, apparently in distress. Kumasa made quick movements, instructing the other women to fetch many bandages. The lady was very stressed, frantically working to save Suala’s life. Kumasa’s eyes were opened wide, revealing surprise and horror. The crowd of natives muscled me away from the scene, wanting to get a close-up look at the patient, blocking any assistance I could have given to help Kumasa.
 
I was frustrated, and pushed with all my strength against the force of the crowd. The red sea eventually parted, making a small alley for me to access the injured young man. My best nurse didn’t even notice me as I rushed to the scene, medical bag in hand. The other crouched women made it impossible to see the patient, blocking any view of his injuries. I commanded them to go away.
"Get back ladies! I can handle this mess much better than you can." I shouted over Suala’s cries of pain. Kumasa saw me, and beckoned me toward her.
"Missionary, come now! He is losing blood!" She shouted.
The women got up from the ground, slowly stepping back. I signaled them away with my hand as I crouched down beside Suala. Blood stained the ground, changing the color of the grass to crimson. The young man’s left arm and right leg were gone, it seemed as if they were sliced clean off. Suala kept screaming in pain, and tears dripped from his cheeks. The boy knew that he was dying. He had lost too much blood, it was certainly too late for cauterization. Kumasa was holding a white cloth over his arm stump as the severed artery squirted out the last remaining pint of crimson liquid.
Suala’s injuries were fatal, but it was a mystery how he had gotten them. The limbs looked as if they had been cleanly amputated in a hospital. It must have been a crocodile, those creatures could slice a man to pieces, as I have seen them do to fishermen before. But before the young man died, I had to be sure to ask him the cause of the injury.
"Son, can you hear me?" I asked. Suala nodded, trying to open his mouth to speak.
"Y….Yes missionary." The boy groaned. I felt guilty for interrogating a dying man.
"I need you to tell me something. How did this happen?"
Tears silently streamed from Suala’s eyes. His expression suggested doom, terror, and fear.
"A big…… black…… devil.. Took my arm and leg." He cried. My heart sank, now I would never know what happened. The natives were highly superstitious. And any unexplained death or injury was always blamed on ‘devils’ or ‘demons’.
"Suala, are you sure it was a devil?" I asked, a little frustrated.
"It was bigger than any creature of the jungle! It had horns on its head, and sharp teeth! Yes! It was a devil!"
"Young man, devils don’t cut off arms. Why don’t you just tell me what you saw?"
"I have told you!...... I h-……."
Suala’s blood was draining the life out of him, causing the boy to slip away. I couldn’t afford for him to die. I had to know what creature had attacked him; there were other young men who fished in the river as well.
"Son... Slow down... Just tell me, what did you see?" I asked calmly. Suala strained to answer. These would be his last words.
"It came from the valley…. Go downriver in a boat, and you will find the footprints." Suala sighed in relief. Life left the young man’s body, and the last drop of blood spilled from his shoulder. One of the fine young warriors of the Gazembe tribe was dead.
Kumasa had been mortified; she was looking away, covering her mouth with a blood-stained hand. I was sullen as well, there’s something about watching someone die that makes a man cringe. But this episode didn’t end on the riverbank. There was still an animal out there in the dark African jungle, one that had developed a taste for human blood. However, the only evidence I had was the young man’s dying words. A big, black devil.

Neath Lankly
May 16th, 2012, 02:09 AM
This is a historical fiction/ suspense novel that I have completed based in 1870s Central Africa. Here's the plot:

The discovery of the nineteenth century is made when a Belgian expedition stumbles upon a canyon 2000 feet deep in the Congo jungle. However, the dream turns into a nightmare when they become trapped inside, and preyed upon by prehistoric monsters thought to be extinct. An American missionary who went with them gives his account of the terrifying bloodbath that took place in "Death Valley".


Congo region of Africa, 1873
The boy’s crying voice made me jump, slicing a gash in my patient’s arm (Maybe look at connecting the sentence for a better understanding i.e (The boy's crying voice made me jump, causing my knife to slice a thin cut into my patients arm.) This initial sentence hooked me- as is important with the first sentence, but I believe extra attention should be given to the first sentence.) Without panicking, I grabbed a bandage, quickly sealing off the blood. It was a good thing that the patient was unconscious. She was undergoing a minor surgery, (no need) and I was the only doctor for hundreds of miles. That boy who disturbed me was going to get an earful once I caught him. Wiping the blood off my hands, I exited the hut. The(A) young man was running toward the doorway, with fear in his eyes. He was Juambe. Not the brightest lamp in the house, but a good boy nonetheless.
"Missionary! Come with me!" Juambe cried. I sighed, knowing that he was probably frightened by a passing crocodile in the river.
"Settle down son. What is it you want?" I said with a relaxed grin. The boy got even more excited, shaking his head and pointing in the opposite direction.
"Suala…. He is hurt! You m…. you must come now!" Juambe cried, trying to catch his breath from running. I knew it must have been quite an emergency. So, leaving my surgery patient in the hands of a nurse, I ran quickly to the river, where a crowd of natives were gathered. (I admire this sentence, three comma's in perfect position allowing for easy reading.)
The jungle humidity was at its worst, drenching my shirt with sweat, and making it difficult to breathe. People mumbled in their native tongue, pointing at something lying on the ground; obviously Suala. The young man must have been severely injured, he was crying out in pain. A large number of women were attending to Suala , trying to keep him alive until my arrival. They were good ladies, always looking after everyone, and aiding me in my medical clinic. Especially Kumasa. She was the oldest of the women, and the wisest.
My best nurse, as I called her, was leaning over the young man’s body, apparently in distress. Kumasa made quick movements, instructing the other women to fetch many bandages. The lady was very stressed, frantically working to save Suala’s life. Kumasa’s eyes were opened wide, revealing surprise and horror. The crowd of natives muscled me away from the scene, wanting to get a close-up look at the patient, blocking any assistance I could have given to help Kumasa.
 
I was frustrated, and pushed with all my strength against the force of the crowd. The red sea eventually parted, making a small alley for me to access the injured young man. My best nurse didn’t even notice me as I rushed to the scene, medical bag in hand. The other crouched women made it impossible (could use 'crouching women' or 'The other women crouched, making it imposible') to see the patient, blocking any view of his injuries. I commanded them to go away.

"Get back ladies! I can handle this mess much better than you can." I shouted over Suala’s cries of pain. Kumasa saw me, and beckoned me toward her.
"Missionary, come now! He is losing blood!" She shouted.
The women got up from the ground, slowly stepping back. I signaled them away with my hand as I crouched down beside Suala. Blood stained the ground, changing the color of the grass to crimson. The young man’s left arm and right leg were gone, it seemed as if they were sliced clean off. Suala kept screaming in pain, and tears dripped from his cheeks. The boy knew that he was dying. He had lost too much blood, it was certainly too late for cauterization. Kumasa was holding a white cloth over his arm stump as the severed artery squirted out the last remaining pint of crimson liquid.
Suala’s injuries were fatal, but it was a mystery how he had gotten them. The limbs looked as if they had been cleanly amputated in a hospital. It must have been a crocodile, those creatures could slice a man to pieces, as I have seen them do to fishermen before. But before the young man died, I had to be sure to ask him the cause of the injury.
"Son, can you hear me?" I asked. Suala nodded, trying to open his mouth to speak.
"Y….Yes missionary." The boy groaned. I felt guilty for interrogating a dying man.
"I need you to tell me something. How did this happen?"
Tears silently streamed from Suala’s eyes. His expression suggested doom, terror, and fear.
"A big…… black…… devil.. Took my arm and leg." He cried. My heart sank, now I would never know what happened. The natives were highly superstitious. And (could delete 'And' here and just use 'Any'- i'm not saying you cannot use 'and' at the start of the sentence, its just the the sentence and the preceding sentence are both short, not really requiring the '.And' in my opinion) the next se any unexplained death or injury was always blamed on ‘devils’ or ‘demons’.
"Suala, are you sure it was a devil?" I asked, a little frustrated.
"It was bigger than any creature of the jungle! It had horns on its head, and sharp teeth! Yes! It was a devil!"
"Young man, devils don’t cut off arms. Why don’t you just tell me what you saw?"
"I have told you!...... I h-……."
Suala’s blood was draining the life out of him, causing the boy to slip away. I couldn’t afford for him to die. I had to know what creature had attacked him; there were other young men who fished in the river as well.
"Son... Slow down... Just tell me, what did you see?" I asked calmly. Suala strained to answer. These would be his last words.
"It came from the valley…. Go downriver in a boat, and you will find the footprints." Suala sighed in relief. Life left the young man’s body, and the last drop of blood spilled from his shoulder. One of the fine young warriors of the Gazembe tribe was dead.
Kumasa had been mortified; she was looking away, covering her mouth with a blood-stained hand. I was sullen as well, there’s something about watching someone die that makes a man cringe. But this episode didn’t end on the riverbank. There was still an animal out there in the dark African jungle, one that had developed a taste for human blood. However, the only evidence I had was the young man’s dying words. A big, black devil.




It is really nicely written and very easy to read. Looking over my feedback, my blue and red points are extremely fickle- and at the end of the day are personal preference.
It is a great story, very nicely written and a nice use of punctuation.

Walt1093
May 16th, 2012, 02:28 AM
Appreciate the feedback Neath. I'm not sure how I'll market this book if I get it published. Its somewhat dark, but not near enough to be horror. Its very historical, but too "out there" to be called true historical fiction, and its too realistic to be fantasy.

Dearest
May 16th, 2012, 10:00 AM
I'm wondering if a doctor, especially one trusted with what I assume is a scalpel, would be startle-able enough to slice a patient's arm due to someone shouting. I mean, those guys are trained to have steady hands.
Nitpicking, I know. It just took me out.

Walt1093
May 16th, 2012, 03:03 PM
Well.... This is a doctor trained on the fields of Gettysburg in the 1860s, he's not exactly a "professional." Nathan Stafford, the protagonist, was a civil war vet who lost everything to sherman's march. So, after the war, he became a missionary in Central Africa, going after his true calling. Stafford's medical abilities come as an extra skill to help the tribe.

D1flyinggoose
May 16th, 2012, 07:59 PM
trim alot of adverbs and adjectivews from story

Dearest
May 16th, 2012, 11:27 PM
Ah, background info. That makes sense, then. It's good that you have your characters so planned out.