View Full Version : Elixirs of Life Chapter 1

July 18th, 2014, 04:47 AM
The computer screen flicked to black, a small sphere began bouncing from corner to corner in a hypnotic dance. Reese sighed deeply as he shook the mouse, breaking the computer's sleep mode, and revealing a blurry photo.

"Staring at that for another twenty minutes isn't going to change anything" A deep voice boomed from out of the shadows in the corner of the small room. "It was a monster then, it's a monster now. I don't see what we are waiting on."

Reese scowled back at the darkness, "You could at least knock first, Saul." turning back to the computer screen. "I know what it's suppose to be, but I still have to make sure it's not another fake before we take a plane to England, off some wild tip. Verification takes time."

Saul emerged from the shadows, a stone faced man graying at the temples, he was imposing to say the least. His cold deadened eyes stared blankly at the screen from over Reese's considerably smaller shoulders. "It's real and you know it. The source was reliable. That..." Saul sneered, and jabbed his thick finger into the computer screen, causing it to flicker in protest." ... is a shade."

Reese's eye narrowed on the picture, a lone man walking down a quiet city street in the dark. Any normal person would never give the poor quality photo a second glance, but Reese had long since abandoned the moniker of normal.

At 23 years old he was the youngest Elixir in recorded history, a member of a secret society that deals with the immortals. It's hard to describe the immortals. They have very little in common, save secrets... and obviously immortality. In spite of their clandestine nature just about everyone has heard of them. They populate practically every myth ever told, every fairy tale, and every ghost story. They are the monsters that haunt nightmares, and the angels that fill fantasies. It was the Elixer's job to keep track of them, negotiate with them, learn from them, and kill them if so needed.

"The shadow is pointing in the wrong direction." Saul continued, explaining the picture needlessly in condescension. "With the street light behind him that shadow should be pointing away from the light, but..."

Reese slammed his fist on the fold out table that made a makeshift desk for the computer, interrupting his companion. "I said, I know what it is suppose to be. Don't think I am stupid just because I'm young." It was a common problem. The older agents always disapproved of him being allowed into the order, regardless of who his father had been. " I am the tracker, it's my job to verify this, so I am damn well going to verify it. If you want to be useful go tell the others to get ready."

With a grunt Saul turned towards the door, slipping out as quietly as he had entered. Reese slumped back into his chair, his eyes still trained on the picture. It's not a fake, but no shade has ever been photographed before this year, and yet.... Reese reached into his shirt pocket pulling out three small picture and tossing them onto the table. Each one showed a similar scene a man, a woman, a dog, all walking alone at night with a shadow that shouldn't exist. ...four pictures in the last month. New York, Paris, Rome, and now... Looking up he stared again at the computer screen. ...London

Cigar smoke wafted lazily around the sad, sweat and grime stained, excuse of a motel room. It drifted slowly until getting caught in the blades of the portable fan, that provided the rooms only source of relief from the sweltering Louisiana heat, scattering into invisibility.

Celina swatted at a rogue tendril of the cigar's cloud as it writhed around her head. "Could you put that out, Eric? This room is enough of a hell hole without you making it worse!" A thick Hispanic accent sneaking out in her frustration. Vainly she began brushing out her long raven black hair, running fingers through it, she brought it to her nose. "Damn it! now my hair even reeks of it." With a jerk she drew it up, wrapped it into a pony tail and pushed away from the table that she had been sharing with the smoker. Standing she stormed over to the window, "Where the hell is Saul. He said he was going to get us something to fucking drink from the vending machine, and he has been gone for over half an hour."

Eric shoved his cigar butt into the ash tray next to him, and rolled his eyes. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out a handkerchief, filthy from over use, and mopped up the sweat from his bald head, before returning it to his jeans. "Saul, went to spy on Reese. I would be surprised if he comes back with drinks at all." He stroked his gray beard absently for a moment before drawing out another cigar and lighting it with a long drag. "If you want a drink we have a cooler full of beer in the next room." Eric snorted a laugh as Celina shot him an icy glare in return.

"I would prefer not to rot out my liver.. or my lungs, thank you." Celina sneered. " The way you carry on, it amazes me you have lived this long."

"Honey, if I live long enough to die of this." Eric waved his cigar in her direction. "I will have made it longer than I anyone I know." With a smug grin he bit down on his cigar and turned his attention back to the paper in his lap."

Celina huffed,"Oh please you stup..." the door sprang open and promptly slammed behind a growling Saul. "Finally! took you long enough." Celina stared at Saul for a second before throwing up her arms. " For Christ's sake, you really didn't get the damn drinks!" Eric snickered loudly, as Celina turned back to him. "Don't even star..."

Before she could finish, Saul slammed a heavy suitcase onto the table knocking over Eric's ashtray, spilling the black dust onto the already filthy carpet. " Shut up, and get packing. The kid finally made up his damn mind. We leave for London, in an hour."

July 18th, 2014, 07:18 AM
I enjoyed this quite a lot, it is very well written and I am looking forward to future chapters!

First I would like to come out with the comment, personally I think it should have been longer, it almost feels like a prologe as opposed to a first chapter.
(Although I will admit I am new here and I'm not sure how long the maximum post size is, so if this was a restriction you were working with, then all is well!)

In the future I am looking forward to seeing the expertise and background of Reese since he is the youngest person accepted into this group.

In conclusion, it was a great read with an interesting "setting" if you will, with the immortals and all, and I hope to read chapter 2 in the near future!

July 19th, 2014, 01:40 AM
Thanks Amo, I really appreciate your comments. I am glad you enjoyed it. Definitely agree that this chapter is very short. The following chapter is much longer but I still feel like it I need to to end this chapter here. Hope you continue to read it.

Daniel Loreand
August 17th, 2014, 03:33 AM
Hey man, hows it going. You know that weird feeling where you know if your gripped after the opening sentence or not? yeah well it totally works here. I don't know why I think it's the clear imagery you use and how well it is pictured in the minds eye that grabs the reader, so yeah starts off great! I think for Saul 'His cold deadened eyes' would work better as 'cold, dead eyes.' but thats just me I think that sounds more empty and immediatly threatning. Very descriptive and a fun read pal.


August 17th, 2014, 01:02 PM
I must say this did pull me in and make me want to read more. For me it was good writing combined with mentioning the shades. I'm interested to know what they are.

For critique I saw two things.

First, in Reese's dialogue you switch between using contractions and not using them. Remember, every word is a conscious choice so if you use "I'm" in one place and then switch to "I am" in the next sentence, as a reader I assume there is a reason for that. Typically native English speakers default to using contractions in speech. I can't remember the last time I've said "it is" or "I am" in a sentence when talking to someone. Maybe you did mean for it to be that way and if so there were a few times when I just read it as "I'm" or "it's" and had to stop and go back because I thought there was a purpose for not using contractions such as the character was emphasizing each word.

Second, the sixth paragraph where you explain things felt like a speed-bump to me. I'm getting into the story and the mood and suddenly, a wild narration appears. I'm guilty of doing this all the time which is why I always am critical of it. When reading I find I like for things to be explained organically when possible. For me it helps to think about how they would explain things if it were a movie or TV show. Usually they introduce a character who is unfamiliar with the world and explain things to them so the reader can indirectly learn in the process. It's not always easy, but it's well worth the effort to find ways to provide information like what is in that paragraph through other means. And it's by no means a deal breaker to keep that paragraph in, but if you could introduce those things gradually within the story then it also leads the reader along like a trail of answers that they must find to put the pieces of the story together.

Again, just my two cents from a reader who enjoyed the piece. Keep it up and I'd like to read more from this.