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N3aR
May 27th, 2012, 07:08 AM
Hello. I'm a relatively new member here, and this is the fist chapter of the nowhere-near-complete novel I'm writing. I've been working on this piece for a few months now, and the idea has twisted and turned after many rewrites, plot changes and PoV arrangements into what it is today. It's still rough, but please, if your feel the need to give your critique (please do), then give it to me straight. I prefer my reviews cold, harsh and brutally honest. But I digress:

Ronan's Birthday


I storm out of the house.
"I don't want to hear it." I say.
The man behind me screams a couple of choice expletives at my back before slowly, shutting the door behind me. A muscle twitches near my left eye. I spin around. Whatever happened to him being mad at me? My arms cross over my chest as I stare at the doorknob. The door slowly croaks open.
Carlsen pokes his head out.
I sigh. Carlsen still looks as devastated as he's ever been. His copper hair stands on edges, poking out of his head. The color of his hair now a visible half-black from negligence alone. And that's saying something. Carlsen always combs his hair to oblivion, even on his worst days. His dark eyes shimmer in the grim moonlight.
"Sorry, Kaz." he says, shoving a hand in his pocket.
"Yeah, yeah," I wave him off "See ya later." I reply.
Carlsen immediately starts to eye me down. My eyes glance over him. I notice the slight incline of his brows, the downturn of his mouth.
"Ok. I forgive you." Damnit Carlsen.
He drops his gaze, nods and slowly shuts the door.
I shake my head.
He's losing it. Where is the uncle I know and love?Sure as hell isn't him. Where's the smile? The laughter? The uncle who jokes and laughs and hugs everyone around him? The guy who single-handedly turned our little neighbourhood into a community?
This Carlsen isn't the Carlsen I know and love. My Carlsen wasn't a drunk. My thoughts flicker to that day, and I realize I can't really blame the guy.
Married with a son and would-have been daughter. That's who he was. Alone, shattered and lost taking care of a kid that's not even his own is who he is. But if I was in his position, would I do the same? I imagine having to deal with having my wife and unborn child killed by the start of a revolution I don't approve of. Of not even having the chance to say goodbye to my wife before she gets ripped apart by a stray bomb. I wince at the thought. The revolution must have tore his tender heart to pieces.
Still, he's gotta get it together.
For his son.
My feet carry me to the steps leading up to his house. I slouch down onto the cold stone and wait. My message was sent about five minutes ago.
I glance at my watch; 11:49 p.m. Maybe it's a bit selfish to call her out so late, I think. Looking up, it's a young night tonight. The moon floats idly above Haven, a gray-white ball of inefficient light that does little to illuminate anything at all. The rough azure canvas of the sky around it painted with stars like raindrops on dry pavement. I really shouldn't have called her out so late...I probably woke her up. Not that there's anything I can do about that anywyays; my message has already been sent for a while now. That doesn't stop me from wanting her to be here. I start to wonder if she'll show up.
A tremor course up from my leg up to my spine when I do. The upper part of my right leg shakes uncontrollably, like a thousand needles pilling into it at once.
My heart starts pumping through my chest. I place my hand over the origin of the shaking. I start to relax.
That's why I hate vibrate.
Pulling my phone out of my pocket, I find I've received a new message.


Look Up!


I look up to find a pair of bright and clear blue eyes looking back. A short shudder coarses through me.
My hand flies to my chest.
"Give me a heart attack..." I say.
Katherine giggles.
"Looks like I got you there huh? And to think I thought you were immune to fear." She replies, eyeing me up and down. No doubt taking in my frightened expression.
"I am immune to fear," I remind her "Just not to vibrate."
I got her with that one. She laughs again, her clear blue eyes illuminated by the moonlight. I take her in. Katherine's wearing her usual coat, signature denims and the pair of sneakers I bought her last week. My lips quirk into a grin.
"I thought you said those shoes we're ugly, that I had no sense of style and that you wouldn't wear them."
She rolls her eyes. "Please, Kaz." she begins "They're not so bad in retrospect."
Her brows furrows. "Why'd you bring me out here anyways."
I thumb at the door behind me. "Carlsen."
Katherine grabs my hand, trying to pull me up. I spring to my feet and pretend to crashes into her.
"Watch that. You could hurt someone..." I allow my voice to trail off. I feel a soft squeeze on my hand.
"Kaz. Really. Why'd you bring me out here?" she asks, all serious like now.
I sigh. "I figured you liked shopping."
"For what?"
"The biggest teddy bear ever created." I say. Katherine's expression is still serious, but notice a twitch in her lip. She doesn't keep the poker face for long though, and soon she's laughing.
Soft and melodious in tone, Katherine has a beautiful laugh.
I distract myself by thinking of why I'm buying this gift in question. For Ronan's birthday. I remember the last time I tried to buy him a toy, but no, for some odd reason, my nephew's into teddy bears. I'll buy the biggest one there. Should make the young gentleman happy.
"Then what are we waiting for?" asks Katherine, gently tugging on my hand. Right. I quickly match her pace.
"Well, I called you because I figured I'd never be able to find my way around a mall by myself. So your gonna have to walk me through this." I warn.
She stops in her tracks and turns around.
"Please, who do you take me for?" she asks before tugging me along behind her.


On the way to the mall she tells me about her day. Nothing I don't already know, but I listen along anyways. She tells me her team has barely won the championship game thanks to a missed call by a ref, which allowed her to serve one extra time. That extra serve won them the game. Katherine seems all embarassed by it. I beam at her.
"You musta been wearing your lucky underwear." I remark quietly.
She rolls her eyes, but smiles. A wide, nice, genuine smile.
A soft pang strikes my heart unexpected at the sight. I wince, but keep the smile there.


We arrive at the mall in a heartbeat. I walk her over to the food court and grab a chair.
"Want something to eat?" I ask.
She shakes her head. I'm just about to insist when I'm interrupted by the loud groans of some guys at the table next to ours. One man is grabbing his own hair and wails "Damnit!" dragging the word out like he was just robbed. The guy across from him is bobbing his head up and down, a stupid smile on his face. He reminds me of the bobble-head I have sitting at home. Then theres the small crowd around them. All three of them are nodding in approval.
I throw a quick glance at the board in the center of the table and grin. Some demon I cannot resist forces me to my feet.
"Hold on a sec." I say, throwing my index finger behind me.
They notice my approach. Their gaze flickers from me to each other as I come to a stop infront of Damnit Guy. The big guy to the man's left steps infront of me. I nock an eyebrow.
"What do you want?" he asks.
I ignore his threatening tone and say "Well, I was sitting by and watching you guys play. He's pretty good." I say, cocking my head over to Bobble-Head. "Would mind taking me on?" I ask as innocently as possible. The big guy frowns and steps aside. Damnit Guy eyes me. Bobble-Head grins.
"I only play for money." Says Bobble-Head dismissively.
"Good, I have some on me."
"How much?"
"Bout 1500 credits." I lie.
"Let's play then." he says.
Damnit guy moves off of his chair, still eyeing me. "Oh, and if I win. Could you give the this man his money back?" I ask. Damnit Guy blinks twice. I glance back at Bobble-Head.
"Sure." he says with a shrug.
We proceed to set up the board quickly.
"Black or white?" he asks.
"White."
He spins the board over so the white side is facing me.
I don't wait for him to say go. I throw my Knight up immediatly. He responds with his pawn first.
I develop my other knight next. He throws up another pawn. This guy is not as good as I thought he was.. I hold back a sigh as I move my knight up. He responds with another stupid move; rook to the center of the board.
"Checkmate." I say.
He glances down at the board, his eyes shifting between each piece. I swear he looks like his eyes about to pop out of his head. Then Bobble-Head calms down.
"Good game kid." he says, lifting his chin in respect. He then produces about 600 credits from his pocket and hands it to me. "Thanks." I say, mirroring his gesture. I slap the money in Damnit Guys hands and walk away.
Katherine is shaking her head when I return.
"What?" both my hands reach for the air.
She shakes her head again, but I notice the rough smile on the edge of her lips.
I scratch my right earlobe suddenly.
"What's with you?" asks Katherine.
I continue to scratch my ear as the ringing sound increases.
"Do you hear that?" I manage through gritted teeth.The sound is almost deafening at this point.
Her expression is absolutely oblivious to the sound. Meanwhile, my ear is getting bombarded by that annoying screech. I turn away and head for the door. Where the hell is this sound coming from?
Must be from some defective device in the malls music system. Still scratching my ear like an idiot, I open the door with my left arm.
The cool air hits me in direct contrast of the blazing heat of the mall. I don't even notice.
The sound is about to shatter both of my eardrums right now. I clutch both my ears and look around hysterically for the source of the sound.
Someone grabs my hands, pulling them both back down. "What's going on?" asks the voice.
I wince at the additional sound, painfully adding to the shattering sensation in my eardrums.
"Don't you hear that?" I yell incredulously at who I think is Katherine.
I manage to open an eye. Katherine isn't even paying attention to me, her attention is captivated by something above her. My gaze follows hers.
A rough, cylinder shaped object is speeding downwards towards the roof of the mall. Looking at it, I'm temporarily distracted from the ringing. Its descent is slowed by a white parachute attached above it. I notice the almost blinding white glow of the odd object as it descends. Fireworks? No, why would they? I mean, today is far from being a special occasion, where in the middle of December here. X-mas is still a couple weeks away.
I squint and take a few steps forward.
The screech intensifies.
Urgh!
That's the source of the ringing. I keep moving forward despite that, I'm now as determined as hell to find out what that thing is.
Now able to observe it from a much closer view, I notice some things I didn't before.
It's not glowing for one, it's just reflecting moonlight off of its rough metal shell. That's strike me as odd, why would the shell be made of metal? For two it's directed perfectly above the center of the mall. For three, it has odd markings at it's side. I make out an T, a H and E at first. On a second glance I find a R, M, A and L. I read the letters out loud.
"Thermal." I mumble. I stop breathing and grab Katherines hand. I notice that there are a couple dozen other people pointing up at it. Taking pictures. Observing it in ignorant awe.
"Thermal." I repeat under my breath.
"People!" I yell as loud as I can, my ears still half-deaf from the sound."Get away from the mall now!" I finish.
I break into a mad dash away from the mall, not waiting for their reaction. Katherine barely keeps up, but I keep my grip on her as tight as I can.
"Kaz. What the hell?" She calls behind me.
I don't have time to stop and explain, nor do I have time to say it any less bluntly than now.
"That's," I inhale out of neccesity, if I'm right, we only have twenty seconds at the rate it's going to find cover.
"That's a bomb Katherine."

End of Chapter 1

Also, I should ask, did the ending of this chapter catch you off guard? I'm hoping it did cause that's really what I was aiming for.

And thanks for reading.

Abdul-fattah
May 27th, 2012, 08:14 PM
Still, he's gotta get it together.
For his son. [That's confusing, is it his son or steph-not? is there a second son? perhaps if you don't want to write stephson, you could write his name instead...?]
My feet carry me to the steps leading up to his house. I slouch down onto the cold stone and wait. My message was sent about five minutes ago.
I glance at my watch; 11:49 p.m. Maybe it's a bit selfish to call her out so late, I think. Looking up, it's a young night tonight. The moon floats idly above Haven, a gray-white ball of inefficient light that does little to illuminate anything at all. The rough azure canvas of the sky around it painted with stars like raindrops on dry pavement. I really shouldn't have called her out so late...I probably woke her up. Not that there's anything I can do about that anywyays; my message has already been sent for a while now. That doesn't stop me from wanting her to be here. I start to wonder if she'll show up.
A tremor course up from my leg up to my spine when I do. [sentence needs some attention] The upper part of my right leg shakes uncontrollably, like a thousand needles pilling into it at once.
My heart starts pumping through my chest. I place my hand over the origin of the shaking. I start to relax.
That's why I hate vibrate.
Pulling my phone out of my pocket, I find I've received a new message.

....
sneakers I bought her last week. My lips quirk into a grin.
"I thought you said those shoes we're ugly, that I had no sense of style and that you wouldn't wear them."
She rolls her eyes. "Please, Kaz." she begins "They're not so bad in retrospect."
Her brows furrows. "Why'd you bring me out here anyways."
I thumb at the door behind me. "Carlsen."
Katherine grabs my hand, trying to pull me up. I spring to my feet and pretend to crashes into her.
"Watch that. You could hurt someone..." I allow my voice to trail off. I feel a soft squeeze on my hand.
"Kaz. Really. Why'd you bring me out here?" she asks, all serious (like) now.
I sigh. "I figured you liked shopping." I think what you meant to say here is: I figured you'd like to shop
"For what?"
"The biggest teddy bear ever created." I say. Katherine's expression is still serious, but I notice a twitch in her lip. She doesn't keep the poker face for long though, and soon she's laughing.
Soft and melodious in tone, Katherine has a beautiful laugh.
I distract myself by thinking of why I'm buying this gift in question. For Ronan's birthday. I remember the last time I tried to buy him a toy, but no, for some odd reason, my nephew's [should be "nephew is into" Nephew's is possessive] into teddy bears. I'll buy the biggest one there. Should make the young gentleman happy.
"Then what are we waiting for?" asks Katherine, gently tugging on my hand. Right. I quickly match her pace.
"Well, I called you because I figured I'd never be able to find my way around a mall by myself. So your gonna have to walk me through this." I warn.
She stops in her tracks and turns around.
"Please, who do you take me for?" she asks before tugging me along behind her.


On the way to the mall she tells me about her day. Nothing I don't already know, but I listen along anyways. She tells me her team has barely won the championship game thanks to a missed call by a ref, which allowed her to serve one extra time. That extra serve won them the game. Katherine seems all embarassed [double r] by it. I beam at her.
"You musta [must've] been wearing your lucky underwear." I remark quietly.
She rolls her eyes, but smiles. A wide, nice, genuine smile.
A soft pang strikes my heart unexpected at the sight. I wince, but keep the smile there.


We arrive at the mall in a heartbeat. I walk her over to the food court and grab a chair.
"Want something to eat?" I ask.
She shakes her head. I'm just about to insist when I'm interrupted by the loud groans of some guys at the table next to ours. One [why not just "a man"] man is grabbing his own hair and wails "Damnit!" dragging the word out like he was just robbed. The guy across (from) him is bobbing his head up and down, a stupid smile on his face. He reminds me of the bobble-head I have sitting at home. Then theres [there's] the small crowd around them. All three of them are nodding in approval.
I throw a quick glance at the board in the center [centre] of the table and grin. Some demon I cannot resist forces me to my feet.
"Hold on a sec." I say, throwing my index finger behind me.
They notice my approach. Their gaze flickers from me to each other as I come to a stop infront of Damnit Guy. [needs some work] The big guy to the man's left steps infront of me. I nock [knock] an eyebrow.
"What do you want?" he asks.
I ignore his threatening tone and say "Well, I was sitting by and watching you guys play. He's pretty good." I say, cocking my head over to Bobble-Head. "Would mind taking me on?" I ask as innocently as possible. The big guy frowns and steps aside. Damnit Guy eyes me. Bobble-Head grins.
"I only play for money." Says Bobble-Head dismissively.
"Good, I have some on me."
"How much?"
"Bout [about or 'bout] 1500 credits." I lie.
"Let's play then." he says.
Damnit guy moves off of his chair, still eyeing me. "Oh, and if I win. Could you give the this man his money back?" I ask. Damnit Guy blinks twice. I glance back at Bobble-Head.
"Sure." he says with a shrug.
We proceed to set up the board quickly.
"Black or white?" he asks.
"White."
He spins the board over so the white side is facing me.
I don't wait for him to say go. I throw my Knight up immediatly.[immediately] He responds with his pawn first.
I develop my other knight next. He throws up another pawn. This guy is not as good as I thought he was.. I hold back a sigh as I move my knight up. He responds with another stupid move; rook to the center of the board.
"Checkmate." I say.
He glances down at the board, his eyes shifting between each piece. I swear he looks like his eyes about to pop out of his head. Then Bobble-Head calms down.
"Good game kid." he says, lifting his chin in respect. He then produces about 600 credits from his pocket and hands it to me. "Thanks." I say, mirroring his gesture. I slap the money in Damnit Guys hands and walk away.
Katherine is shaking her head when I return.
"What?" both my hands reach for the air.
She shakes her head again, but I notice the rough smile on the edge of her lips.
I scratch my right earlobe suddenly.
"What's with you?" asks Katherine.
I continue to scratch my ear as the ringing sound increases.
"Do you hear that?" I manage through gritted teeth.The sound is almost deafening at this point.
Her expression is absolutely oblivious to the sound. Meanwhile, my ear is getting bombarded by that annoying screech. I turn away and head for the door. Where the hell is this sound coming from?
Must be from some defective device in the malls music system. Still scratching my ear like an idiot, I open the door with my left arm.
The cool air hits me in direct contrast of the blazing heat of the mall. I don't even notice.
The sound is about to shatter both of my eardrums right now. I clutch both my ears and look around hysterically for the source of the sound.
Someone grabs my hands, pulling them both back down. "What's going on?" asks the voice.
I wince at the additional sound, painfully adding to the shattering sensation in my eardrums.
"Don't you hear that?" I yell incredulously at who I think is Katherine.
I manage to open an eye. Katherine isn't even paying attention to me, her attention is captivated by something above her. My gaze follows hers.
A rough, cylinder shaped object is speeding downwards towards the roof of the mall. Looking at it, I'm temporarily distracted from the ringing. Its descent is slowed by a white parachute attached above it. I notice the almost blinding white glow of the odd object as it descends. Fireworks? No, why would they? I mean, today is far from being a special occasion, where in the middle of December here. X-mas is still a couple weeks away.
I squint and take a few steps forward.
The screech intensifies.
Urgh!
That's the source of the ringing. I keep moving forward despite that, I'm now as determined as hell to find out what that thing is.
Now able to observe it from a much closer view, I notice some things I didn't before.
It's not glowing for one, it's just reflecting moonlight off of its rough metal shell. That's strike me as odd, why would the shell be made of metal? For two it's directed perfectly above the center of the mall. For three, it has odd markings at it's side. I make out an T, a H and E at first. On a second glance I find a R, M, A and L. I read the letters out loud.
"Thermal." I mumble. I stop breathing and grab Katherines hand. I notice that there are a couple dozen other people pointing up at it. Taking pictures. Observing it in ignorant awe.
"Thermal." I repeat under my breath.
"People!" I yell as loud as I can, my ears still half-deaf from the sound."Get away from the mall now!" I finish.
I break into a mad dash away from the mall, not waiting for their reaction. Katherine barely keeps up, but I keep my grip on her as tight as I can.
"Kaz. What the hell?" She calls behind me.
I don't have time to stop and explain, nor do I have time to say it any less bluntly than now.
"That's," I inhale out of neccesity [necessity], if I'm right, we only have twenty seconds at the rate it's going to find cover.
"That's a bomb Katherine."

End of Chapter 1

Also, I should ask, did the ending of this chapter catch you off guard? I'm hoping it did cause that's really what I was aiming for.

And thanks for reading.

Yes it did catch me off-guard. Although once he spotted the object I immediately understood it to be a bomb (since you already mentioned the revolution and such). So I found it took him rather long to figure that out.

ps: death-note rules!! :p

N3aR
May 27th, 2012, 09:12 PM
Thank god someone actually gets the reference... :)
Ya, the spelling and grammar needs some work, but some of the dialogue mistakes are on purpose to make the dialogue seem more natural (bout instead of about, figured you liked shopping instead of in figured you'd like to shop). Otherwise, ya, I need some grammar improvement. I'll get on with that.

And thanks for the feedback man, appreciate it. This scene does need quite some fine tuning, and I plan to rewrite it when I get of this atrocious writers block.

Again, thanks man.

Altan
June 4th, 2012, 03:44 AM
I thought it was better than a lot of 1st person POV fiction I've seen.
My main complaints were with your paragraph structure (space them) and your focus on characters' actions.
Is it essential or leading into a plot point or otherwise significant? You should ask yourself this before including it in your story.