View Full Version : Something I wrote from a writing prompt (language)

January 29th, 2013, 01:57 AM
I've done some rewrites. Figured I would post it using this old post rather than start a new one. : )

The Motel Mage

I hadn't seen her since the last day of high school. We'd parted ways like so many friends do and we eventually lost touch. It had been years since we'd even been in the same state. Whenever I thought of her I thought of her like she was on the last day of school: all smiles, full of hope, and beautiful in an effortless way. The woman that stood on my doorstep was not the same girl I'd known back then. She was barely there physically or mentally. Her blonde hair hung dull and listlessly around her shoulders. She'd lost so much weight that she was on the verge of being skeletal. She was a wreck but what struck me hardest were her eyes. They looked dead. She was on her last leg and the fact that the only person she had left was me said something about her situation.

"You look surprised to see me," She said softly.

"A little but Abby," My heart sank a little, "you look like shit. What happened to you? How'd you find me?"

She winced. "You still don't mince words do you?" It was her classic deflection. I'd seen her do it enough times in high school to know that she was embarrassed and couldn't admit it.

“How'd you find me, Abby. If you want to tell me about what happened later it's okay but I'm not moving until you give me that much.” She tried to look down but I held eye contact.

“I can't say,” She said.

“That's not good enough for me.” I said. She dropped her bag on to the concrete. It looked heavy and clanked like dense metal. I noted it.

“I followed you.”


“Everett told me you'd be here. I just followed the address she wrote down.” She pulled out a folded Pizza Hut receipt from her pocket with my address written in pen. I cursed silently. Everett was more of a hard ass on operational security than I was. We did not communicate electronically or telepathically during a job let alone send a nonmage alone. If she really gave her my location it was definitely for a good reason. "Are you in trouble?" I sighed.

"Hell of a thing to ask an old friend." She smiled painfully. Her teeth were very white. I waited for an answer. "Not imminently or legally."

"A necessary thing to ask these days." I moved out of the doorway. "Come on. Come inside."

As she passed, I placed a hand on her shoulder and sent a single pulse that mapped her body for my mental radar. Abby flinched slightly but didn't pull away from my touch. I noted it. She was clean physically and she hadn't set off my wards at the door but that didn't mean she couldn't have something dangerous in her bag. Abby looked around the dingy motel room. I felt a little self conscious about the clothes on the floor and the half eaten pizza on the table but I didn't move to fix them. She sat on the stiff bed and looked me straight in the eye. That was something I hadn't seen before. I gave her the benefit of the doubt despite my stomach doing somersaults.

"Abby. You're an old friend but I've got my own shit going on right now. What is it?" I tried to sound less irritated than I felt.

"Everett said you could help me. I need protection from some people.” She said.

“What people?”

"Some business men up north. They own a company called Brighton Robotics."

I didn't even bother asking her if she was followed. If the debt was large enough whoever she owed would keep an eye on their investment. I grazed my wards and reached out past them into the parking lot. There was nothing there I hadn't already tagged: a few guests in the pool and the attendant out for another smoke. I looked back at Abby. Sure, I felt bad enough. The only problem with giving her what she needed is that she'll be back when she was desperate again. It was the kind of baggage that had weighed me down in the past. I took a seat at the small table and mulled it over for a few more seconds. Abby watched me intently.

"A robotics company?" It caught me off guard.

She sighed and lifted a stained pant leg. It was a robotic replacement limb. How did I not catch that when I mapped her? I berated myself and pulled in a little closer. They were pretty common among amputees but some individuals got them because they were stronger and more durable than regular human limbs. I'd seen them on the street but never up close. It was a brilliant shade of blue with a bright white stamp on the side that read: Ecotechnics. Judging from the paint it looked fairly new.

"When did this happen?" I looked at her and sent a pulse. In my eyes she began to glow a dull green. The initial body map made it easier for me to tune in to her aetheric signal. A steady stream of information passed seamlessly between her and I. Everything from surface thoughts, emotions, vitals and even some deeper memories rushed and filed themselves into my mental filing cabinets for later reference. She was visual thinker. I liked to call them artists based on the their visual and emotional tendencies. At this moment she felt relieved, desperate, worried, and frantic. A thousand different pieces of information swarmed within me. I calmly suppressed the majority of them and brought her surface thoughts to the forefront. Images of cars and an inflamed stump.

"I lost the leg just above the knee in a car crash. My insurance was able to cover a normal prosthetic but it wasn't the same walking with a cane. I was able to save enough for a down payment through Brighton. Right after I was fitted they turned my debt over to a collection agency." Abby's body language was completely neutral. She could have been talking about the morning drive to work but internally she was shouting out to me for support. If this conversation had taken place a couple years ago I probably would have caved that instant and oozed into her hand like a melted ball of wax. Unfortunately for her I had burned myself enough times to know better. She dropped her pant leg and massaged her thigh. Almost simultaneously, an image of a black man in a three piece suit came to her mind. His faced was pulled back into an exaggerated sinister smile that was no doubt skewed by the impotent rage she was feeling towards him.

"How does this involve me? There are financial institutions better suited to handling these sort of situations." I pulled my electronic cigarette from the charger and took a drag. She barraged me with feelings of shock, desperation and panic. It took a bit of effort to shield myself from it.

"Yeah. I guess I could have but that's only part of the problem." Even without the link I could feel her hesitating but internally she was choosing her words carefully. "The collection agency jacked up my payments and threatened to repo the leg if I was late. They offered me an out though."

"And what was that?"

"They offered me a job at one of their labs. At the time I didn't understand what was going on. I was between jobs at when they approached me. The only thing they asked was that I wear a modified version of the leg that they fitted me for to work. They told me to wear the leg and if I didn't they would know."

"Is that what's in the bag?" I nodded at the duffel bag at her feet.

"Yeah. I worked there for three years."

"What did you do there?" I asked the obvious questions because more often than not the most relevant information is filtered out betwen the brain and the mouth. Abby, however, was more forthcoming than I'd previously given her credit for.

"I was a 'volunteer' patient for improved prosthetic to nervous system integration."

"Alright. How do I fit into this thing? I can handle a fight but I'm no bodyguard," I leaned back into the stiff chair, crossed my legs, and took another drag. I felt her flash of annoyance like a boot to the face. She projected emotions like no one I'd ever linked.

"I need a mentalist or at the very least a shade." She said. It was my turn to be a bit shocked. A shade is a term mages used to describe another mage that could hide another persons from external psychic influence while a mentalist was someone who was capable of doing most abilities in the telepathic spectrum including shading. I'd always compartmentalized my life in a way that my personal life never mixed with my professional life. To nonmage friends and family I was a contractor to private detective agency while others new me as a fairly accomplished mentalist.

"Let me check with Everett and I'll let you know what's going on," I got up and started towards the door. In the corner of my eye I could see Abby nervously follow suit. "I'll be right back. Just stay here and make yourself comfortable. Do you smoke?"

"No. Not anymore," She said.

"Well if you feel like picking it back up there's a pack of real ones in the top drawer," I motioned to the desk in the corner. "Matches are on the table. I'll be right back."

I left without saying another word.

February 1st, 2013, 02:19 AM
Is this a short piece or is there more to it. I don't know if it works as a stand alone scene. He seems quite rude when e tells this girl that he hasn't seen for that she looks 'like shit'.

I like the title, the Motel Mage, that does conjure some really nice ideas.

February 2nd, 2013, 12:31 AM
You have handled descriptions well.

For me the man was plain evil. I really dislike people who lack compassion. This may be the result of what has happened to him or what he has to do, but it puts me off the piece. I had to force myself to finish. This has nothing to do with the writing, which is good.

Your dialogue is excellent.

However the man is demanding answers to various questions and the woman does not answer them. So he asks a different question. If he is suspicious/wary then he needs to stay that way and not allow her to go off on a tangent.

I do not understand why coutesy wins out.

I felt that the man was not consistent enough.

February 2nd, 2013, 05:44 AM
I made him a little calloused. This piece is actually part of manuscript I've been working on forever. Out of context it seems random but I'm sure everyone has felt this way even if they haven't acted on it. Thank for the feedback.

February 3rd, 2013, 04:38 AM
I am in no position to critique your work given my complete lack of experience. But just like most I've experience in reading, and having read your excerpt [and at the risk of sounding as if I'm repeating other's comments] the conversation they share is very natural. Especially up until he invites her inside I have to say, although based on very little, that I really began to like him quite quickly. I know this conflicts with other comments, that was not so much my intention in writing a reply.

Can I ask, is there any previous dialogue, directly before her description at the top of the excerpt you shared? It reads as if there were perhaps one or two more lines spoken between the two characters prior to the flashback. I'm just curious!

February 4th, 2013, 05:52 PM
I wrote it with the prompt as the first line in the piece. I could definitely write something before it if you're really interested. :)

February 12th, 2013, 09:26 PM
I don't mind finding the man somewhat unlikable right-off-the-bat. Sure, he sounded rude telling the woman he hadn't seen in a while that she looks like shit but this is a really small piece and we already know there's history between them. It really makes me want to know that history and why Abby looks the way she does and why He acts the way he does. He even mentions that he being the last person she has meant something. I take it others don't take to him, perhaps because he IS kind of a jerk. Again, maybe he has his reasons. I'd be interested in reading more.

February 12th, 2013, 11:49 PM
The only grammatical stuff I caught immediately was this:

She was on her last leg and the fact that the only person she had left was me, said something.

I liked that he was abrupt and rude. If you alter her reaction just a bit, I think you'd get a whole picture of their history. I don't mean to write or hijack your story, but here is a for instance of what I mean.

"A little," My heart sank, "You look like shit, Abby. What happened to you?"

She snorted. "You still don't mince words do you?"

I glanced over her shoulder to check for trouble, as it had a way of following her.

She leaned into my view, "Aren't you curious about how I found you?"

"Same as always, I assume." I couldn't but help shake my head at her sad appearance. "Are you in some sort of trouble?"

"Hell of a thing to ask an old friend." She smiled painfully. Her teeth were very white. I waited for an answer. "Not imminently or legally."

Something like that seems to show more of a history between them, and allows him to be a jerk, which she expects, and forewarns that trouble finds her often, which he expects. The readers don't expect it obviously, so we need to be shown this, but they are all too familiar with each other.

Good stuff, I'd like to read more.

February 12th, 2013, 11:54 PM
While some of the descriptions feel cliche ("dingy motel room") I quite like where the piece is going. It definitely intrigued me and the way the story seems to juxtapose pseudo-gritty realism with the run-ins to something more fantastical is interesting. I didn't dislike the main character but I didn't feel he was callous. As has been mentioned much of this is about context and I would be curious myself to understand how he became somewhat jaded and disinterested.

February 13th, 2013, 01:43 AM
This was interesting. I guessed after the talk about whether she was in trouble or not that she was dying, but I wasn't expecting it to turn out the way it did. As others have said it would be nice to find out why Jake is the way he seems to be since you've said that irritation and frustration follow him. Also curious to know how he knew already that he was her last chance if he hadn't seen her since high school. Other than that I enjoyed it and would like to read more.

February 13th, 2013, 05:29 AM
This was certainly engaging. The beginning definitely brought me in. There was a nitpick and one slightly bigger one.

Nitpick: It's mostly just a grammar/wording thing, "I gave her the benefit of the doubt despite my stomach doing summersaults in my gut." I believe that the 'in my gut' part is superfluous and it doesn't fit with the tone of the rest of your description. You do a nice job quick-hitting your description and that part feels like SLIGHTLY too much and messes up the flow. At least it did for me. Otherwise that was a beautiful paragraph. Again, this is a very nitpicky thing, it's not a big deal.

Bigger thing: This one sucked me out of a story I was otherwise deeply engaged in, and it was the name Ghost and immediate jumping into magic being a thing. I know it said "Hotel Mage" but I had no idea that was coming and it threw me really hard. It was so out of left field to me that I didn't really know what to do or how to properly process it. I still don't really. I think if you had something about this stuff earlier on, it'd be better. Even keeping the name Ghost is totally possible, IMO, but it has to be something that's more... Established. Strange names are hard to pull off, and as a nickname that one feels a little on the nose for my taste.

I really hope that didn't come off as rude. You are an engaging writer. I'd absolutely read your work, and as someone else mentioned, your dialogue is excellent and more impressive than that is your pacing. I'd be interested in reading more and if there was a way to be prepared for the magic it'd probably have made this work better for me.

February 14th, 2013, 09:04 PM
Thanks for all the feedback. Between work and college its hard to keep up with the forum. I pretty much stalk this thread and read every reply so I don't want anyone to feel like I'm ignoring them. I've taken everything everyone has posted into account. There is more to come but I'm a little intimidated considering the generally positive response. lol

J Anfinson
February 15th, 2013, 02:41 AM
Love where this is headed. Most of the prose flows well and the dialogue is excellent. My little nitpick of the day would be this:

We'd parted ways like so many friends do and eventually lost touch. It had been years since we'd even been in the same state.

Maybe I'm just not getting it, but to me those two sentences conflict. What I mean is: If he'd lost touch with her up until now, how would he ever know whether or not they'd been in the same state? Am I not understanding?

Other than that, if that's the worst I could expect, I'd still buy your book.