View Full Version : Village Law (Short)

June 25th, 2013, 09:43 PM
Hello everyone, so this will be my first short story ever posted. I figured I would post a story that I wrote at 2 in the morning (couldn't sleep). Note: I have done very minimal editing, I only edited a couple words. So I will appreciate any constructive criticism!


He pulls the woolen cloak tighter around his side. Feeling the chilling mid morning fog bite under
his coat.

Mornings in the highlands tend to feel this way. Pattering rain and occasional breaks of sunlight.
Why was I forced to leave? Baird keeps repeating in his mind. He knows the answer.

That night when was walking through the center of the village to return home. He passed alongside
the pub when it happened.

Three men surrounded him.

"Heading home are ye?" Questions the supposed head of the posse. Pointing a grimy finger at his victim.

"Yes." Baird replies.

"Why don't ye hand over some coin, for walking through our alley?"

The man steps forward. His creeps grab Baird's arms.

"Cat got yer tongue?" He demands. The stench of alcohol overpowering. The drunk reaches for Baird's pockets.

It happened so fast. Baird broke the grip from the men holding him, he pulls the knife from it's sheath. He
tightens his grip and plunges it into the carousers gut. There was no time to think.

Baird releases his hold and steps back. The two can only stare at each other.

The man's knees buckle from under him. He falls onto his back and lies, drowning in his own blood.

The goons bleat in terror and the two dart out of the path.

Baird panics. He pulls the knife out of the dying man's stomach. He wipes the blood off on his pants leg and runs for home.


He knows he has only minutes. His parents see the blood. They fix on him as he packs, staring.

He grabs Jerky, a canteen, flint, and clothes. He stuffs everything into his pack and looks back at the two who raised him.

"I'm sorry."

Taking a man's life is never easy. Many say they would. few hold to that promise. Feeling the tip of your blade sink into
another beings flesh. There is nothing as terrifying in the world.

Baird takes one look back and sees the home he was raised in erupt in flames.

Everyone in the village knows the law. Murder is murder. And when you commit such an act.

Everyone suffers.

June 26th, 2013, 06:28 PM
Hi Bobtail,

You certainly grabbed my attention from the start, and this could have done to have been a little longer and perhaps it would have been an idea to have kept the reader in delayed suspense a little without going straight in to what happened after a couple of lines. I do like your description of the murderous incident however, ..He pulls the knife from it's sheath...just that niggle of it's... 'its'... just be careful with spelling and grammar, but I think you did admit it was a little rushed and late at night or early in the morning. 'He Grabs Jerky...' Who or what is Jerky? There needs to be some kind of an explanation there. And I didn't quite understand the ending. How did the house 'erupt in flames'? There is a danger with this you'll leave the reader frustrated and wanting to know what happened.

As I say earlier it has great promise and you clearly have a good sense of the macabre. I do like this line...'Taking a man's life is never easy...feeling the tip of your blade sink into another being's flesh...'

June 26th, 2013, 10:31 PM
Thanks Chris! Yeah, there are a few parts that I meant to add, the part with Jerky should've been explained better (Supposed to be venison). The house erupting in flames was the mob of villagers. Kind of forgot to add that though :/

Olly Buckle
June 26th, 2013, 11:19 PM
Mornings in the highlands tend to feel this wayHere is something I always look for in my writing and take out, words like 'tend to' which qualify the statement.
'Mornings in the highlands are like that', may not be as accurate, but the definite always feels better.

See what I mean? I could have said it 'usually feels better to me', more accurate, less punch.

June 27th, 2013, 03:56 AM
Here is something I always look for in my writing and take out, words like 'tend to' which qualify the statement.
'Mornings in the highlands are like that', may not be as accurate, but the definite always feels better.

See what I mean? I could have said it 'usually feels better to me', more accurate, less punch.

Thanks for the response, Olly. I see what you mean. I see that strategy used in many books that I read.

June 27th, 2013, 07:18 AM
Hi Bobtail, I think your story idea is workable and should be expanded. Try using past tense, see if it improves overall readability and enjoyment. I can tell you're into tight prose, but still a lot more detail could be added without being too wordy. Let's see how Baird felt when he lost his parents; they just died before his eyes! It's obvious he's a cold person, but c'mon, didn't he feel anything? Looking forward to reading your second draft, should you desire to pursue this story. P.S. Nice to meet another Bob here. I'm new here, too, and I'm just finding out how hard it is to write a critique!

June 27th, 2013, 07:21 AM
I liked the ending, but there could certainly be more exposition. I've got plenty of questions, but no real answers. Obviously the murder is supposed to be a very bad thing, but we don't know a single thing about the man who died except that he was a drunk who was fond of robbery. The narrator could certainly argue that he killed in self-defense, which has been a viable legal defense since antiquity. And generally speaking, the death of the town thug/drunk is rarely something to get up in arms about. All in all, I like the message, but the story seems half-told to me.

June 28th, 2013, 12:40 AM
A nice, interesting beginning. As for adding the mob setting fire to the house. I don't feel its needed as he explains the penalty for murder. Keep the work up.

June 28th, 2013, 08:57 AM
Thank you for your responses! I'll see to a second draft, may take a bit of thinking. I have to think about maybe giving some backstory to the thug, and why the mob was angered over his death. Maybe some ideas? I appreciate the feedback.

July 4th, 2013, 01:24 AM
Very dark! I love the feel. I keep wondering how old Baird is and envisioning the horror of being burned alive. For some reason I see the creeps fabricating a story to the public, maybe connecting Baird with a string of other murders, pretending to be witnesses in order to cover up their crime.

July 4th, 2013, 02:29 AM
I agree that you should switch to past tense. It's a personal taste, but I despise present tense narration.

The story as a whole has obviously been done before, but there are ways to make it more yours.

For one thing, it would make the story more intriguing if the circumstances were grayer. That is--- the meat of the story is in the outcome; I would change the cause. Make it so that, while arguably being self-defense, there were may have been ways to avoid the killing. Such a story could give you a lot of attention as a writer, what with the Zimmerman trial imminent.

Your prose is tight, but I would be a little more descriptive. Show me faces. Show me regret, hesitation. A powerful image could be the main character's knowing he might face death if he doesn't defend himself, perhaps asking if he should bother defending himself at all. There is so much more you can do with this.

Edward Deliquay
July 27th, 2013, 03:30 PM
Excellent short you have there and what could be a great beginning to a longer short story. Your experience in writing shines through. We have all heard of the pay the toll this is my ally thing before but you put it down in a fresh way, good job. Short excerpts are great practice and easy for me to give feedback on. Hope to see some more from you. Is there worse repercussions for murder in that town? I am intrigued!

July 28th, 2013, 01:38 PM
A rather interesting short. At first the prose struck me as being a bit...stilted, but I suppose that fits in well with the brevity of your writing, and the tenseness of the situation. :)

July 31st, 2013, 09:30 PM
I think the story has a lot of potential, but it is way too short and feels rushed. I was left with a lot of questions and the feeling that everything was jumbled in a big pile... and then it ended. Maybe expanding it a little and switching to past tense would work better?

August 8th, 2013, 05:58 AM
The first chapter was very fun and interesting to read. Maybe go into depth who these characters were. Also is it a flashback, cause if it is, I couldn't tell. The second chapter needs some major work in that he packed and then suddenly the house was on fire.


August 8th, 2013, 04:43 PM
hey bobtail,

in this story i strongly reflect the feelings of Folcro and Alehkra, the writting just a bit 'lifeless' though not 'bad'; and i found nothing really unique about the tale on the whole. i got a bit of a "what's the point?" feeling.
again, i'm not saying that because i thought it was 'bad', but because i feel you have the potential to put more of a unique twist on the story.

August 10th, 2013, 02:18 AM
Again, I think it is well-written. I like the short sentences. They are refreshing to read.