View Full Version : Short Story ~ No more room in Hell.

December 6th, 2013, 12:27 AM
Hey! I really need help with this. I wrote a story in junior high and it needs some major work. I love the idea but need help editing and stuff, so any suggestions are appreciated! (keep in mind this was in junior high.) I also may try to make this into a book, I don't know yet.

It was so hard to remember things from before. Before Hell filled up and the heartless souls and spirits had to go somewhere else. Most people were wrong, they believed it would be a virus or radiation that caused the phenomenon “zombies”. But really it was something much worse, something unfixable. Yes, Hell was full. As strange as it sounds, it was true. It was discovered long ago that when people died their spirits were sent to Limbo and from there it was decided whether you went to Heaven or Hell. It was said that Limbo was an endless plane, stretching on for eternity with black expanses of hills and a flat, gray sky. Hell was a different story. It is to be thought of as a cage, with bars and open gaps. The thing was, if you packed a cage too tightly whatever was inside would squeeze out. Well, eventually the cage got so full that the spirits started slipping out. They would reanimate, or haunt a dead body. Well, people started calling the things Haunts and soon it was a problem. If you took the body of someone who has passed and burned or cremated it, the spirits don’t have a chance to haunt it. They would just wander around in Limbo. People would refuse to burn or decapitate the bodies of their passed loved ones, so more spirits came and took the bodies. But these Haunts weren't just bodies walking around. No, the bodies had to be sustained. These Haunts had no way of telling right from wrong, no brain capacity. So they ate whatever they could find. Unfortunately, the biggest population on Earth beside plants were humans. Soon the world was filled with so many of these Haunts that they overran the military. People became nomadic, and lived in a sort of portable camp. That brings us to Seamus. Seamus was a normal kid, 18 years old and living in one of these camps with his best survivor buddies, Lily (17), Aislin (19) and James (18 ). They mostly referred to Seamus as Sal, because Seamus was too much to say in certain situations. Currently the group was staked out in an abandoned mall, sitting around the bar having a drink. Well, a soda.
“And it was so weird, ‘cause he sat there giving me this blank stare. I didn’t know if he was gone yet, but I realized soon enough.” Lamented James.
“And then…Well? What did you do?” Aislin persisted. “Come on, don’t just leave us hanging!”
James shuddered. “I did the right thing to do. I put a bullet in his head and burned the body.” All of their expressions changed. They went from a having-a-good-time look to an oh-sorry-I-asked look in a matter of seconds.
Lily rubbed James’ shoulder. “I’m sorry. I know that must’ve been hard for you.” Seamus stood up, looking around.”What is it Sal?” Lily asked.
Seamus sighed.”Nothing. Hey, ya know what? You guys get some sleep. I’ll stand the first watch. My treat.” He raised his glass, and they all followed, toasting and then chugging their soda. Seamus took the empty cup away from his lips. “I’ll wake you up in a couple of hours, alright?” He said, pointing the glass towards James.
“Alright, I’ll try not to get too attached to my dreams.” He joked. They all laughed half-heartedly. After a moment of silence, Trinity stood up.
“Welp, goodnight guys.”She said and walked away. Everyone except Seamus stood up and walked towards their separate department stores. With a sigh, Seamus hefted his trusty M16 into his lap and turned his attention towards the giant glass doors, which were now partially boarded up. The mall is a nice enough place, He thought. It’s just so big. So empty. He saw a flicker of movement outside. His reaction time had gotten better over the years so he immediately lifted his gun to his shoulder and looked down the sights. He slowly stood up.
“Hey, guys. Hey. James! Aislin! Lily! Wake up!” He said in a hushed voice.
“I haven’t had a chance to fall asleep yet idiot.” Aislin retorted.
“Quiet! Just stand up slowly. All of you. Get your weapons.” Woah, that got them up. Within a minute they were all awake and in action mode, though they probably looked funny with their deadly weapons and pajamas on. A shape moved past outside the doors. Then two. Then four. Gods, there were loads of them! The Haunts passed by outside, not noticing the group. Thankfully, the group had taught themselves a form of sign-language, because Seamus made a couple of “ten” motions with all ten fingers, and then made the signs that roughly meant “pack up, we’re leaving.” Everyone hurried quietly back to their stores, packing up their hiking backpacks with everything they could find. Afterall, this was a mall. They filled their packs up with ammo, batteries, tinder, food and bottled water, a couple of solar panels that probably didn’t work, and their normal clothes, coats, umbrellas and small tents.By the time they had all gathered, everyone was fully dressed, weapon in hand and pack on back. Seamus signed to them “Ok. Lets go.” He nodded his head. All of the sudden, a big bang went off farther down the mall, so big that you could feel the tremors throughout your body. Seamus looked at the door. The Haunts knew they were here now. They were banging on the doors, trying to get to dinner. Seamus screamed. “RUN!” He bolted down the mall, the rest of the group not far behind. Looking over his shoulder he saw that the Haunts had broken through the glass, some had even squeezed through the boarding and were stumbling after them. Seamus heard a thud and a moan. He spun around to see James, laying on the ground with his pack beside him. Holding his ankle.
Well thats helpful.” James groaned through clenched teeth.
“Come on! Grab his arms and help him! I’ll hold them back!” Seamus yelled. While the girls ran back and lifted james up (who now put the pack over his shoulder) Seamus pulled up his M16 and fired at the Haunts. He hit a couple in the head, and they dropped to the floor. He kept firing while walking backwards and hit another one in the head and a couple more in the chest. Not enough to kill them, but enough to slow them down. “Hows James?” He shouted over his shoulder.
James groaned. “Oh, I’m doing just great.” Seamus kept firing and taking down Haunts. He shot one in the head, and when it fell down he saw that he had, in fact, hit two. He turned around.
“Did anyone see that? No? Great.”He turned back and continued his rain of bullets. After a while of the same routine, they were at the end. A back door led outside. They squeezed through, and on the wall next to them happened to be a maintenance ladder. Huh. Seamus thought. That’s handy. “Everyone up!” He ordered. James had the hardest time, but he hopped up each rung on one foot, only losing his balance once, but Lily caught him. Seamus was the first up. He got up and turned around to offer his hand to james, but he heard a snarl. He spun back around and stood face-to-face with a haunt. He pushed it back, and held his M16 like a bench press. He rammed into the haunt, and sent it flying over the side of the roof, falling into the horde beneath them. Catching his breath, he looked around. There were a couple of folding hunting chairs laid out, all facing towards a small fold-up table that had cards and a radio on it. Someone else had been here, and Seamus was guessing that the Haunt he just threw off the edge was him. He helped everyone else up, and they sat in the chairs.
“Hey, look!” Aislin said joyfully, pulling on a strap next to her chair. She struggled a little bit, so it must have been heavy. When she hoisted it up, Seamus was feeling better than any other time after Hell filled up. It was a hunting rifle, with a nice-looking scope, too. She handed it to Seamus, and he studied it, smiling like a madman. His day got even better when Aislin said “Oh. And would you look at that.” She scooted aside to show a whole 21-gallon rubbermaid bin filled with ammo. Seamus ran over and gasped.
“Oh my god!” He rejoiced. He reached in his hands and pulled out rounds of M16, rifle bullets and lots of other different types of ammo. He was ecstatic. James looked at Seamus. “Hey, you know what? It’s karma. You guys really helped me out in there. Thanks.” James felt so thankful he couldn't express it enough. He laughed.

“Guys, I really can’t thank you enough.”
“Don’t worry.” Lily replied.
“No problem man.” Seamus said.
“No man left behind.” Aislin added with a smile.
“Ah, well, look at that.” Seamus pointed out. “The suns coming up.” He pointed at the horizon where an orange ball was rising ever so slowly. “Ok. Back to work.” He said with a clap. He strung his M16 over his back, took the rifle and brought a chair to the edge of the flat, concrete roof. He rested the rifle on the chair, pulled over the ammo box, and sat down, resting the gun on his shoulder and pointing the barrel into the horde gathered at the bottom of the ladder. He started firing bullets and didn’t stop until the horde was gone.

December 6th, 2013, 04:24 AM
I always try to comment on threads that I read. So far, I love the concept. And very nice using the word "Haunts", never heard it put that way before. The idea seems unique and I like it. Of course as you know, this was written in Junior High so the writing needs alot more polishing and I really mean alot. More transition as well. The explanation was enough to develop an image of what I was reading which I like also. Some of the dialogue is corny but salvagable.

So to wrap it up:
More polishing.

I think your on to something here. I would read this book :)

December 13th, 2013, 01:04 AM
Did a little fixing up on the intro, still needs work but what do you think?

No one expected it. It happened so fast, no one had time to prepare. What happened was astounding. Hell filled up. As weird as it sounds, it was true. People at first denied the concept, claiming it was fake, and that Hell did not exist. Those people were wrong, whether they realized it then or later. After the first haunting there was chaos. So many experiments, so much death. Scientists couldn’t believe what was clearly true. They tried and tried again to find a logical explanation, but there was none. No one knows for sure how Hell “filled up”, because it was supposedly an endless plane like Limbo and Heaven. Even with so many tests and attempts to stop the madness, spirits still flooded into the mortal world. When a haunting occurred, the body would just awake, as if it was in some sort of slumber. Everyone was flooded with emotions as their loved ones seemingly returned from the dead. Once it was public that these were not the loved ones people had previously known, they started to panic. These spirited bodies soon got the nickname of “Haunts”, because of the nature in which they took the body. The only real way to counter this problem was to burn or cremate any dead body, so the spirits don’t have a chance to haunt it. They would just wander around in Limbo, forever lost in a haze. But these Haunts weren't just bodies walking around, because if the Haunts were to use the body they had to sustain it, and that meant food. Meat. Unfortunately, every dead body soon was haunted.

December 14th, 2013, 06:03 AM
I think you're trying to cram too much information into a short story. Short stories try to tell a story that is short. Your story is trying to encapsulate everything that might happen in a book. I think you should pick one story from the larger story you wish to tell and extrapolate on it. I think you have something larger to tell, but unfortunately the little you have given us is merely an action story. I feel like there is a better story you have in you that is hidden within the larger framework of what you have given us here.

December 19th, 2013, 02:32 AM
Hello! Any names you guys like and want to see in the new story/book? Post some cool names and I'll try them out. All are welcome! (I'm rebuilding the framework of the book.)

December 22nd, 2013, 12:15 AM
Its not really my genre, so i'm probably not the best person to comment. To make it easier to read I'd try and use paragraphs more - at the moment I find the wall of text daunting and it bogs me down. The reworked intro is much better. In the first version I wasn't sure if it was a joke or serious.

Some things seemed to be there for no reason - like the guy twisting his ankle. I think it distracts from the story and removing it might give it a bit more pace.

I'm not sure about the last paragraph where it feels like you felt obliged to give everyone a line of dialogue.

The action and dialogue I think you did well though, and it kept me reading.

December 24th, 2013, 04:41 PM
Hate to pick on a minor thing, but those paragraphs are thick! Love to see them broken up into more organized pieces

December 26th, 2013, 04:47 PM
My two cents -- something I've learned the hard way -- never start a story with exposition. Rather, jump right into the action. That first paragraph includes some interesting details that are central to the story, but "data-dumping" them (the term some used on one of my stories) right up front is off-putting. Just have your character(s) doing something, then have them deal or face something that organically brings out this exposition you give up front. Try it and see how it works for you!

December 28th, 2013, 08:33 PM
If you're trying to make this into a novel, I would describe the characters more: what they look like, their expressions, try and build a unique profile for each of them that you can expand on later. When I write, I actually create characters and set some rules for each as to what they would do, then I describe them, and then, when I get my first chapter down, I like to include at least little hints of the very important things about them, say in this case, that James is a bit of a joker, as you allude to with his line after he sprains his ankle.

Also, traditionally, a "zombie" story is some kind of commentary on society. I like the idea of "Haunts" and Hell being full. You could use that idea to find a theme to your story. Examine why Hell is full or even better, give little nudges in the story as to why it might be full and let the reader do the guessing.

Otherwise, this is a great start and a serious piece of writing from a Junior High student. I'm impressed.

December 31st, 2013, 01:15 PM
I think a more creative and dynamic opening is needed. It doesn't really need to be action, it can even be exposition. But whatever you do, make the audience want to continue.

Also, two mechanical tips I'd like to give.
1. Don't use adverbs. Anybody can take out a dictionary or a thesaurus and use adverbs for description. It's very one-dimensional. Good writing doesn't need adverbs.
2. "He said" and "She said" are sacred. A large majority of your dialogue uses "jokes," "retorts," etc. instead of said. Also, you include adverbs like "in a hushed voice." These make the dialogue less interesting. Those descriptions should be put in the actual dialogue itself. The dialogue is about what your characters have to say, not what you have to say.

December 31st, 2013, 01:18 PM
Oh, One thing I forgot to mention for #2 of my "mechanical tips:"

It's alright to use something other than "said," but I was just trying to make the point that you shouldn't do so too often. It doesn't sound too good.

Once, I reread Prisoners of Azkaban and substituted all of Rowling's "said"s for other words and it sounded very, very boring. You should try it too.