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Abby
July 9th, 2014, 10:42 PM
The girl ran and ran through the dirt, on and on until she felt the cold night air would burst her lungs. Painfully aware of the rising dust clouds that marked her progress and the crackling of the dry grass underfoot she tried to make her tread lighter, willing herself to be silent. Moonlight turned her eyes into shining coins as she snatched a glance over her shoulder, she could see no sign of him but it gave her no comfort.
Her breath was coming in short harsh whoops, each intake tearing her throat into fresh ribbons of pain. She stopped for a moment to try to calm it down and instantly her left calf muscle locked in an agonising cramp. No, No, No, not now! Hot tears sprang from her eyes as she kneaded her leg with one dirty hand, the other pressed to her mouth to stifle her cries. She had to keep moving, if she stayed here she would perish. He would have no mercy, he had her scent and he would catch her, and when he did only the Gods could save her. Be that as it may every ounce of her was screaming for rest and her exhausted body just refused to take another step. Stopped here like a rabbit in the moonlight she was easy prey, but there was no alternative. She needed to rest, or she would die, no one could keep up this pace forever.

She was in a small clearing leading to the edge of a wide stream, in the gloom she could just make out the flat glaze of the water and the cloud of drifting flies above its surface. Silently she dropped to her hands and knees and scuttled towards it, hoping against all odds to find a hiding place where she could rest up and wait for him to pass. As she crept closer to the stream the springy moss turned to wet sludge under her feet and then she was suddenly knee deep and gasping as the icy water took hold. Her rudely awakened senses scrambled for a means of survival…there! Just beyond the water’s edge on the far side of the stream there was an area of deeper gloom, she couldn't make it out yet but it could be a cave...if she could just reach it before he saw her maybe she could hide out there until he was gone. She launched her slight body as silently as she could into the water and glided through it neck deep, her toes propelling her across the river bed, arms sweeping like wings towards that dark haven. As her outstretched fingers gripped the ledge she allowed herself one swift look over shoulder and froze. The beast stood at the far side of the stream, its great furred back steaming as it stood swaying in silhouette against the night sky, its eyes punching tiny red pin pricks in the dark, marking its prey. It turned its face up to the sky and drew in a great wet rasping sniff of the night air, tasting her scent, but it didn't follow. Darshi realised with dawning comprehension that it couldn’t follow her into the water. She thanked the Gods for small mercies but her situation was not good. Her teeth had begun to click incessantly and the pain in her chest was almost unbearable. She was too small and too weak; if she stayed here she would not survive the night. She remembered tales of men many times stronger than her who had perished after their ships had dumped them into icy waters…the water here was shallow, but if she stayed in it long enough the result would be the same. Luckily the dumb beast didn’t know its depth in the dark, but how long would it be before he realised he had her trapped? There was always a chance that he might turn back, she thought. The water was a problem for him, maybe he would give up and search for an easier meal. Maybe. Then again, if he had half a brain he would realise that she would have to leave its cover eventually, all he had to do was wait it out. Frarks weren't the brightest of creatures but what they lacked in brains they made up for in ferocity, and he had her scent. As long as he thought there was a chance he wouldn't give up until he had her, to think anything different would be playing right into its bone crunching jaws.

The Frark was still there, its silhouette like a nightmare image projected on the sky. It reminded her of a game father had played with her every night by candlelight, he would make his hands into shapes which grew large on the wall behind the glow and she would guess which animal he was playing. Sometimes it was a horse, with little ears made from the crooks of his fingers, sometimes a great lizard with snapping jaws. He would make no puppets now, Darshi thought sadly. Wherever he was he was better off than her, no more pain can befall the dead. Keeping her eyes on the beast she hoisted herself into the shallow cave. It was only just wider than her head but quite deep, she wiggled in as far as she could and allowed herself to relax. The Frark was still there, swaying. Hal had once told her that Frarks hibernate in certain conditions, she had laughed and walloped him at the time, sure he was pulling her leg as usual like big brothers do, but now she wondered. Maybe they did hibernate in a way. It had been there for some time now, swaying. Maybe after a period of stillness it went into a kind of paused state…awake enough to stand but not really there. If she were to leave the cave and climb the bank, would it hear her? She raised her hands and felt slowly along the roof of the cave until her fingers snagged on a loop of root. Gingerly she pulled and got a face full of powdery dirt as the root came away bringing in the ground above. Darshi looked to her left and saw the swaying beast still hadn’t moved. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes and yanked as hard as she could. Dirt pattered down on her bare chest and legs and the root grew slack in her grip. Something scuttled across her face and she squeezed her lips and eyes together as tight as she could, fighting with all of her will to stop the panic from taking her senses. After what felt like an age at last the dirt stopped falling and Darshi felt cold night air stirring the hairs on her arm. She opened her eyes and saw stars like diamonds in the velvet night sky, it was a beautiful sight. She took a deep breath of that cold night air and turned her head. The swaying beast still stood, oblivious.

LeeC
July 9th, 2014, 11:58 PM
Ah, the chase is on. Seemed fine to me, not overdone.

Hope you've got a whence and where to, so you don't leave us hanging :-)

Write on,
LeeC

Plasticweld
July 10th, 2014, 02:13 AM
I like it, it took me a moment to get into your rhythm. It is hard to capture the essences of what is going on in such a short piece but think you did a fine job, I do want to know what happens next and would certainly turn the page. It is a good hook and you got me

Abby
July 10th, 2014, 07:07 AM
Thanks, I just wanted to get something down and posted here in the hopes that I will have the incentive to continue, I haven't written anything in ages. I seem to have hit a bit of a creative block!

DannyMullen
July 10th, 2014, 06:29 PM
I like the overall story. Feels Kafkaesque to me. Nightmarish.

I do think the first two paragraphs or so are a little overwrought, though. Those big, despription rich sentences lose their impact when there are too many in close proximity. Just my opinion–I'm big on rhythm.

Abby
July 10th, 2014, 06:42 PM
Thanks Danny I'll have a go at simplifying those first 2 paragraphs, do you have any suggestions?

qwertyportne
July 13th, 2014, 08:40 PM
You are definitely over your block. Can't wait to see where you take us next.

adbleke
July 14th, 2014, 07:55 PM
You have some good moments. I like the icy water in particular. One weird moment. Does she pee to make the monster go away? "Warmth swirled around her thighs as her bladder let loose". The stakes are instantly so high it is hard to grasp the situation. I would work on what builds up to this moment. It doesn't seem like the beginning of a story to me, more like a climax.

Abby
July 14th, 2014, 08:23 PM
She pees because she's terrified, she's running for her life and when she is almost at her hiding place she turns and sees that the creature who is pursuing her is almost upon her. Is it really that unclear?

DannyMullen
July 15th, 2014, 09:42 PM
No suggestions, and definitely don't feel pressured to change anything! It was just my opinion...me thinking in the form of a forum reply, really.

Abby
July 15th, 2014, 10:34 PM
Too late, have changed...have already run out of steam for this though :(

Smith
July 15th, 2014, 11:29 PM
Too late, have changed...have already run out of steam for this though :(

I've run out of steam for a lot of things, and the scary part is I have only just really begun writing. At least, in a serious sense.

Maybe I misunderstood, but there's nothing wrong with short stories or flash fiction if you're currently having trouble with a novel. Most of what I've written could be seen as that, if not just random thoughts and notes thrown carelessly on paper. Whatever way you look at it, all of that is writing. Blank pages aren't though. So just keep writing! Especially considering that this is actually good.

If there's something in life that might be keeping you from writing, or making it more difficult, turn the tide and write about that instead. Come back to this when you aren't out of steam, or hell, leave it as is. All up to you. Look forward to more of your work! :)

I guess you could think of it this way. You might be all out of steam, but don't forget the firewood.

Abby
July 16th, 2014, 09:11 AM
Thanks Smith, I don't know what is wrong with me at the moment, I just can't get into anything, maybe it's the weather! :)

Abby
July 16th, 2014, 09:12 AM
Thanks Smith, I don't know what is wrong with me at the moment, I just can't get into anything, maybe it's the weather! :) I am going to make a conscious effort to do a bit more to this tonight.

Belinda
July 16th, 2014, 12:57 PM
Nice writing, great imagery, I especially like the moonlight turning her eyes into shining coins. Is there more?

Abby
July 16th, 2014, 01:26 PM
Thanks Belinda, I'm working on it! :)

rogerblingham
July 19th, 2014, 08:41 AM
Well, what attracted me into reading is the flow of narration. As I moved along I felt the need for understanding the background of the situation, which never became clear by the time I finished reading. However, I have to give your due. Your flow of the language is smooth and if you make an attempt to write around a theme it will be nice.

HumanYoYo
July 30th, 2014, 05:00 AM
Intense! I want more!
The flow/pacing is great, and I was really able to get into the character's mindset. I like the way, even with her terror and physical exhaustion, she is still trying to formulate some plan, or at least trying to figure out her situation.
I didn't understand exactly what was happening, obviously, as we are given no back story. I'd like to see a beginning. But I understand - I often write non-linearly.
Anyway, suspenseful stuff.

Abby
August 28th, 2014, 10:46 PM
Thanks, glad you liked it :) Have updated above, not sure if thats how its done or should I be starting a new thread or posting here??

LeeC
August 29th, 2014, 02:47 PM
The first paragraph shines with beautifully descriptive wording, and an edge of the seat chase, but is somehow distracting in combination. It's as if viewed in slow motion, yet trying to instill the fear of flight, if you can understand what I'm trying to say.

I think by quickening the pace of the first paragraph, you might pull the reader in better. Then with the reader's mind anxious, they may better appreciate the avenues of escape sans flight in the second paragraph.

Now, my just saying such is easy, but doing so can be difficult. So the following is a quick example of how I might speed up the first paragraph. Try reading such, flowing into your second paragraph, and see if the changing pace doesn't enhance a realistic feeling.


Gasping for each painful breath with a stitch in her side, every fiber of her body was strained as she ran on through the night. Glancing back over her shoulder she descried no sign of her relentless pursuer, but knew the beast had her sent. In the instant stumbling, as she tried to catch herself the searing pain of a calf muscle cramp took all her effort to stifle a cry. Kneading the leg, her mind screamed to keep moving, yet her bone-tired body refused to comply.

After you've grappled with descriptive pacing, then think about breaking the second paragraph into bite-size chunks ;-) perhaps including the "moonlight turning her eyes into shining coins" there.

Please understand that it's much easier for me to see what might read better in someone else's writing than my own, and forgive my shortcomings. Anyone else's opinions must be taken with a grain of salt ;-)

I hope this helps in some small way :-)

Please, write on,
LeeC


PS: As to updates/rewrites/etc. my experience is that one receives more interest and pertinent critiques in starting new threads. What also helps is editing the previous post to include a link to the new post when applicable (so someone doesn't address content you've moved on from).

Abby
August 29th, 2014, 04:29 PM
Thanks Lee, I will certainly give some thought to getting more of a hook into the first paragraph and I will start a new thread too :)

Misty Mirrors
September 10th, 2014, 10:41 PM
The spelling is usually "gods" or "God".

Abby
September 11th, 2014, 09:43 AM
ok :)

sloonzz
September 12th, 2014, 06:47 AM
I really liked it. Your mix of metaphorical language and vivid physical descriptions really captivated my reading.
A note though, have you tried separating other lines into smaller paragraphs? I really think that would help with the pacing.
Maybe that's just me, though. It's still pretty good. :)

Abby
September 12th, 2014, 09:24 AM
Thanks sloonzz, I did that and have posted more here http://www.writingforums.com/threads/150158-Opening-to-a-story?highlight= if you fancy taking a peek? I'm stuck again now though :)