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gerkintrigg
May 28th, 2012, 11:59 AM
Hi all,

I wrote this on the train to a book signing and wanted some feedback before I go ahead and complete my third novel with it.

By way of an intro...

Orphan is an orphan who is also a wizard. He's not given a name so people just call him "Orphan". He kinda turns a bit bad, and full of malice, but eventually gets sucked into the land of faerie (presumably dead).

Miss Spite is an evil governess of the orphanage.

Jimmy bones is like a younger brother to Orphan (not his brother, but they have a strong bond).

Okay, so here's the chapter...

When Miss Spite pulled up to the traffic lights, she lazily pressed her chubby finger onto the window button. The glass slid quietly down. She crumpled the burger wrapper and threw it out of the window. A great wind blustered and buffeted the car and just as Miss spite was reaching to wind the window back up again, something hit her in the face. It was the burger wrapper. She looked to see who had thrown it. She saw nobody. Odd. She ignored the green light and honking horns, behind her, reached into the foot well, took the wrapper and threw it out again. The wind rose, but this time Miss Spite was ready for it. She yanked up the window button as she drove away, wheel-spinning and leaving the stench of burnt rubber behind her.

At the next junction, she found that the heat of the day was starting to become overwhelming and so wound down the window a little. Suddenly a burger wrapper flew through the window and smacked Miss Spite in the ear. This time, however, it was flat and clung to her face, blocking her vision as it curled over her eye. The wind continued and as she moved her hand for the button to do up the window, the gust was so strong, that she was unable to do so. It was odd, because most of the car was still, but the force on her hand was like someone very strong was pinning it to the steering wheel. She relaxed, waiting for the wind to die down. When it did, she reached up and took the offending wrapper, balled it up and tossed it out of the window. The wind was not happy. It roared like a dragon and Miss Spite was truly afraid for the first time in her life. Something strange was going on; she knew it. She felt it. How could that same burger wrapper hit her in the face twice, at two different junctions? Well that explained it... It was not the same burger wrapper. Perhaps this stretch of road was so littered that the wrappers were common. That was true enough. Miss Spite drove this route regularly and always had fast-food while wedged into her giant car. It was simply unthinkable for her to put something in the bin, so it was probably just another of her wrappers, come back to haunt her.

Driving on, the angry weather took a huge turn for the worse. As she rounded the corner to a long stretch of straight road, a purple cloud gathered with alarming speed in the distance. She saw it coming toward her. It seemed to be one of those twisters, and - though she could not be sure from this distance - it looked like it was already sucking things up. With a jolt, a fork of lightning blasted a tree a few yards in front of her. Although she had swerved, the splintered branch fell and there was nothing she could do to stop it hitting her car. It moved as quickly as one of her brats avoiding her wire whip. She hated it when they ran faster than her chubby limbs could propel a weapon. The branch crushed the bonnet, knocking the engine into the floor and stopping the car in an instant. Miss Spite's head flew forward as the airbag exploded and cradled her face. She got out and stumbled over a pile of milkshake cups. Where had the cups come from? Angry, she swore and kicked the pile apart. She reached into her pocket to retrieve her mobile phone to call for assistance but stopped when she saw something move in the leaves by the side of the road. A small, red squirrel hopped out. Miss Spite aimed another kick at it, but it dodged, her foot missed and she fell over with a heavy bump onto her huge, cushion-like bottom. The red squirrel let out a tiny sound that resembled a chuckle and hopped into her lap. Miss Spite screamed as the rodent sat on her. She was too disgusted to move. Slowly, it rose one of its little paws and held aloft a crumpled burger wrapper. That was the last straw!

'Urgh! Get away you horrible little rat!' shouted Miss Spite. Her arms flailed but she didn't even want to touch it, so the squirrel - knowing it was safe - just looked at her with mild interest. When Miss Spite realised that it was not frightened by all the noise and movement, she stopped. The squirrel shrugged and threw the wrapper with considerable force straight into her face.

'Why you little..!' Miss Spite shouted, but the squirrel took her by surprise. What it did next not only shocked her, but it absolutely terrified her chubby bones, right down to the marrow. The squirrel let out a horrific roar. It was not a high-pitched squeak or a cute, little clicking noise, but a loud, dramatic rumble that made the very trees shudder. Miss Spite fumbled quickly to her feet, slipping and sliding on the road as she did so. 'No, no, I...' Miss Spite said, backing away. She had no idea what she was planning on saying. She had never seen any animal let out such a noise. The squirrel looked distinctly human now. It's face was livid. It's eyebrows pulled together in the middle with a look of such hatred that Miss Spite wondered what it was capable of. It had already done so much to surprise her. From the corner of her eye, she noticed a few things moving in the branches of neighbouring trees. She did not have to wait long before she saw exactly what they were. Hundreds of little squirrels, red, grey and mongrels, holding take-away cartons, paper bags, burger wrappers, plastic straws and all manner of other junk came streaming onto the road. Miss Spite let out a girlie scream, turned and ran as fast as her chubby little legs could carry her. The squirrels gave chase, forming lines, like they were organising for a battle. The first line threw the litter at her. The balls of paper bounced off her elephant-like skin and among the screaming and running, she barely noticed. All was chaos for a few short seconds, before the following line picked up the first line's rubbish and overtook. They too threw the litter at Miss Spite's fleeing posterior. Thankfully for Miss Spite, the orphanage was not far from where she was, by now. She ran up the road, pursued by the continuous stream of litter. She fumbled for the front door.

'Oh no!' she thought. She had left her keys in the car. She began banging on the door of the orphanage. 'Open this door!' she shouted. 'Open up!' The boys of the orphanage were always quick to react to Miss Spite's orders, but even they could not help but catch the panic in her voice.

Jimmy Bones ran down the wide staircase and opened the door as quickly as he could. The door opened with a creak and two things tumbled in; the massive girth of Miss Spite, and a huge mound of rubbish. Jimmy had barely enough time to notice the hoards of chattering squirrels before Miss Spite's over-stuffed red shoe kicked the door closed.
'Are you okay, Miss Spite?' said Jimmy, concerned. He had never liked the woman, but neither had he ever seen her looking this pathetic before; all dishevelled and covered in rubbish.

'Do I look okay!?' Miss Spite shouted. Jimmy just shrugged. Miss Spite's anger broke. Perhaps it was the safety of the orphanage that made her feel powerful, or maybe she just needed something to relieve the tension, but something snapped inside her and Jimmy saw it in here eyes. It was evil. A wide, white grin came across her face. She raised her hand and struck poor Jimmy across the face. Jimmy fell to the floor and Miss Spite kicked him, hard. Jimmy felt a severe pain in his ribs as one of them broke, but Miss Spite had not finished.

'I'll kill you, you filthy little brat!' she shouted, punching and kicking the small bundle of skin and rags. Something else cracked. Was it his nose? She didn't care. He had seemed happy that she was being attacked by litter-throwing squirrels. She started lifting and throwing the litter at Jimmy, but he didn't move much. Where was the fun in that? She liked the challenge of a moving target and the glee when she hit it. Then she noticed the gathering crowd of orphans around her and she regained a little of her composure. 'Tidy this mess!' she yelled at them, 'and patch his nose,' she added, noticing the blood, now dripping down his upper lip. She turned magisterially and strode away to her office.

~*~

Back in the safety of her office, Miss Spite decided to take a rest. Next to Grahame's cage, a large chair sat in the corner beckoned her with its comfy cushion. She decided to sit down next to the pillow that still contained the feathers that Orphan had received when he was a child.

'Disgusting children!' thought Miss Spite. 'Almost as filthy as those rabid squirrels.' She looked up to her pet parrot, Graham. 'You understand mummy, don't you baby?' she said in a putridly sweet voice.

'Yes.' said Grahame. Miss spite grinned. 'Evil' he said. Miss Spite sat up straight. Bolt upright, in fact. She had never taught Grahame to say that. Had those ratty kids been in her room again? No, they wouldn't dare. Not after last time.
'What did you say, darling?' Miss Spite asked, in a slightly less sickly voice.

'You heard!' Grahame squawked.

'Can you understand me?' said Miss Spite, in a pleasant, but scared tone. Nothing would have surprised her that day. Something odd had happened and she was still trying to work out what.

'Potatoes' said Grahame.

'Oh, you had me worried for a moment.'

'Feathers!' said Grahame, ruffling his own and stretching his wings.

'Would you like to come out, sweetie? Mummy needs a cuddle.' Grahame squawked and whistled, which Miss Spite took to mean yes, so she undid the cage door. Grahame hopped onto the lip of the door and jumped into the air. The was a huge beating of his wings before he finally alighted on the arm of Miss Spite's chair. She reached out her fat arm and pulled Grahame closer into a gentle, but very sickening hug.

'I wuvv you my widdle fluffy feathers' said Miss Spite, but Grahame reached up and bit down hard on her ear lobe. The tip of his beak penetrated the skin and he pulled, ripping a large hole in the bottom of her ear.

'Grahame!' Miss Spite said, shocked. 'Look what you did to mummy!' her hand was at her ear, trying to stop the bleeding.

'You tore me away from my mother!' Grahame shouted through a croaky throat. 'Do not pretend to care about me!' Miss Spite was terrified. This was the second time an animal was acting strangely today, and she was starting to shudder.

'Grahame?'

'Remember, that you brought this on yourself.'

'Brought what on?' she asked, but there was not much time to wait. Grahame leaned forward, yanked at the pillow and pulled. The fabric tore and the feathers spilled. A great wind began to blow from the ceiling, like a great fan had been turned on. It made the feathers swirl like a whirlpool and Miss Spite's mouth fell open. It looked like magic! Suddenly one of the feathers flew out of the top of the whirlpool and straight into Miss Spite's open mouth. She coughed and spluttered and spat it out; wet and shrunken. Grahame squawked.

'GOAL,' he croaked.

'Grahame? Are you doing this?' Miss Spite asked as another feather shot from the top of the whirlpool. Miss Spite spat and coughed and wretched but another feather flew out, and then another and another. All of them hit their mark and the tirade got faster, five, ten, twenty at a time zipped through the air and plunged straight into Miss Spite's gagging throat.

'I hope you choke!' said Grahame as Miss Spite struggled to breathe. From outside, Jimmy was cleaning his nose and nursing his ribs, but some of the other boys had noticed something strange happening through the office window. When Andrew opened the door a few moments later, he jumped back in shock. Miss Spite was lying on the floor, her mouth jammed open with a stiff mass of compacted feathers. Grahame walked casually past her and looked up at Andrew.
'Don't bother with an ambulance. She needs an undertaker.'

He spoke in a voice that did not sound like a bird. It sounded like... No, it could not be, could it? Jimmy opened his mouth and let out a single word.

'Orphan?'

Fin
May 28th, 2012, 06:13 PM
I don't have much to say for the moment, since I haven't read it all. But here's a little suggestion. Space out the paragraphs. Right now it's just a big block of text. It's difficult to read as it is, and looking at it before reading is just intimidating.

Just so this isn't a complete waste of a post, from what I've read there are a few misplaced commas, and some of the scenes are really, really jumpy. Almost like a stream of consciousness. If that's not what you're going for, then you should re-evaluate that. Otherwise, it kind of just leaves me confused.

Really consider the spacing of the paragraphs.

gerkintrigg
May 28th, 2012, 06:44 PM
Thanks, I've broken the text up. Can you give an example of the "jumpy" bits, please? I'm not sure I can see it, myself.

Fin
May 28th, 2012, 06:50 PM
Ah, must've been the block of text making me see more than it actually was! The only example I've found was:


*How could that same burger wrapper hit her in the face twice, at two different junctions? Well that explained it... It was not the same burger wrapper

The only part I've seen that was noticeably jumpy was this one. Not even jumpy so much as a stream of consciousness. So, clearly not as bad as I originally thought. My apologies.

gerkintrigg
June 12th, 2012, 10:49 PM
I might change that then.
What do you think about the ending?

GWJ Baird
June 13th, 2012, 12:42 PM
Hi there,

There is an issue with some misplaced commas as mentioned and I'm not sure if it's because I haven't read the anything before than but this felt more like an introductory chapter rather than a finale,

I'm a huge fan of cliffhanger endings so kudos there and I really enjoyed the way you wrote the paragraph starting 'why you little...' with the squirrels, really well done there and quite humourous also, I imagine if I was to read the first two books and the third one, I would be very pleased with this character getting such a beating from a tiny army of animals as I would have grown to hate her as much as the children do undoubtedly