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Jamboree
February 22nd, 2015, 10:29 PM
Something is touching my face. It’s standing over me trapping my body.
I can feel warm, moist air being blown onto my face. Every couple of seconds I feel its damp embrace. I take a breath, slowly, almost gagging on the rotten smell.
But I don’t. My instincts tell me not to move. The noise of the rain, drumming against the side of our tent almost drowns it out. A panting. Very soft, almost a whisper, but it’s there. The warm, rancid air is something’s breath.

The something moves. I feel a weight being lifted off of the blanket by my legs. The weight disappears momentarily before returning, further away this time. The panting is quieter now and comes from my right.

I crack open my eyes, my head resting on its left side. I can’t see the creature, hidden away behind my shoulders. Max lies sound asleep next to me. He may be unconscious, I can’t tell but his infected arm lies on top of the blanket seemingly reaching out to me. The thing must have moved away from us after seeing the swollen, blistering flesh. It would be a relief if the creature wasn’t standing over Lauren.

I lift my head, barely two inches, but just enough to look through the open door of our tent. Theo’s sat upright in the front seat of the car. But he’s asleep. He was supposed to be on guard. The fire has burnt down to embers. He’s supposed to be looking after that as well. I notice the cold. The blankets provide little warmth without the fire. It’s freezing. Any longer and hypothermia will set in.

A sniff makes me flinch.
I angle my head a few degrees to the right and see part of the creature. Its black back legs are large, the fur sleek and dripping. I can see its hip bones and sense its hunger. I’m starving as well. The creature will kill Lauren if I don’t act. Lauren will wake up soon enough and panic. It will attack when she does or perhaps sooner. She won’t stand a chance. My only weapon nearby is my penknife, tucked away in my trouser pocket. Theo has the metal pole.
Slowly I move my arm from on top of the blanket backwards, slide it underneath and down to my pocket.

Lauren murmurs as I withdraw my weapon. The creature growls, quietly.

I bring the knife up to my chest where it meets my right hand. Blindly, I unfold it. Lauren mutters something incomprehensible, disturbed by the presence of the beast. She’s waking up. My body twists to prepare to attack.

The creature doesn’t notice. It only has eyes for Lauren. My head is facing straight up at the roof of the tent. From the corner of my eye, I see two dots of ruby red and a set of yellow teeth. The creature growls loudly. He snorts, sending a small plume of white condensation across the tent. Lauren twitches and her eyes finally open. Her mouth widens drawing in breath. I sit up just as the creature rears back, primed for attack. It finally notices my presence and is caught in two minds. I take my chance, wrap my arms around its neck and wrench the animal towards me.

Lauren’s scream cuts through the cold night air.

The creature stumbles, losing its footing, falling into me. My hands slide onto its chest and raise my legs. I push the heavy creature through the opening of the tent. It careers into the side of the car startling Theo. I surge after the creature, now easier to see in the moonlight. It’s a huge wolf. I raise my knife as I follow it out of the tent. It’s momentarily stunned after its collision.

As I reach the opening of the tent, the blanket falls to the ground. My feet entangle in the fabric causing me to trip forwards. My momentum carries me towards the car and the wolf. I collide with the vehicle, just left of the wolf. The knife springs out of my hand and flies out of sight.

The wolf turns and jumps at me. I manage to duck, avoiding its open mouth. One large paw catches me on the top of my head as it soars over. My fist flies upwards powering into the wolf’s vulnerable underbelly.
The punch flips the wolf over and it lands heavily a metre away.
I feel the warm trickle of blood starting to ooze its way down my forehead. I stand back up, glancing around for my penknife. I can’t find it. The wolf recovers less eager to attack so quickly this time. We stand watching each other for a moment waiting for the other one to make a move.

There’s a squeaking noise next to me. Theo is winding down the window, the metal pole in hand. I look and it’s all the wolf needs. It leaps at me. I realise my mistake and drop, spinning to avoid the creature’s attack.
I’m not quick enough though and its front legs career into my chest. I sprawl away struggling for breath.

I roll onto my back as it pounces on top of me. It bites at my throat going for the death blow. My hands push up on its neck keeping it at bay. The wolf gnashes at me whilst saliva drips onto my face.
Hunger has weakened us both but its mutation has made it as strong as me. Not as smart though. I throw my arms to one side to sending the wolf rolling away. I jump to my feet and turn to the car. Theo drops the metal pole into my hands. I spin around bringing the pole with me. I’ve timed it perfectly.

There’s a sickening crunch followed by a bang as the wolf is first hit by the pole and then crashes into the car. It doesn’t get up. It’s not dead but it is barely alive. It lies on the wet floor, blood pouring from the dent in its skull. I raise the pole again and bring it down. The wolf stops moving. I stand there as the rain washes the blood down the tarmac.

Theo steps out of the car.
“Mars, I’m so sorry. I was just…”
“Don’t worry about it, Theo. Just don’t let it happen again.” Theo bows his head.
I step inside and grab my boots and coat. Lauren has just finished putting hers on. Even Max is awake.
“What was that?” He splutters.
“A huge wolf,” I dry my feet on the blanket.
“You killed it?”
“Yes, just about. We were…” My voice is drowned out by the howls of several wolves. They are in the town.
“We need to go. Now. The rest of the pack will be able to find us. We can’t fight them all at once. And with all the noise we may have attracted some mutated humans as well.”
“I agree,” Says Theo from behind. “I’ll start loading the car. You guys take down the tent.”
I fold the blanket around Max and carry him to the car and place him in the back seat.
“I can help,” He murmurs.
“Don’t worry, we can handle this. You just get some rest.” I close the door and go to help Lauren with the tent.



So I've been working on my YA story for quite a while now and wanted to post another section from it. (For those interested I posted the first chapter back in October-ish) I've chosen a point where you shouldn't need much context to understand what is going on at this particular point. It is supposed to be a short but tense section and I want to know if it comes off this way. Thanks in advance for any comments. Jam

K.S. Crooks
March 14th, 2015, 12:59 PM
An interesting scene that flows well. I like the use of one sentence paragraphs when they involve the wolf. It gives an instinctual feel instead of though out actions of Mas. The same goes for "Lauren’s scream cuts through the cold night air.", it is instinct not something reasoned out. You may want to limit this type of paragraph structure to only these situations. Hope this helps.

escorial
March 14th, 2015, 11:46 PM
enjoyed reading that

R. Mountebank
March 30th, 2015, 12:54 AM
A very tense and exciting fight scene. Simple and easy to read.
Sounds like an interesting premise. Post-apocalyptic?
Is there any more?

Jamboree
April 10th, 2015, 10:55 PM
Hi all,
Been a busy March month and so forgot to check back on here to reply to any comments. Thanks for them by the way :)

Thanks for the advice Crooks. I do try and limit the short paragraphs and save them for only the most intense and generally action filled scenes.

Mounteback the book is indeed set predominantly in a post-apocalyptic country called Brutalia. I'll post the next chapter after I've worked on it slightly more. It follows on from the several wolves heard in the final paragraph.

Didier2nd
May 29th, 2015, 11:11 AM
Loved reading this, the action was gripping. The only bit that made me a bit skeptical was where the wolf gets a sight of his throat and he holds him off, not sure any of us would be strong enough to do that with a fully grown wolf. It may be that Mars has mutations as well, I haven't read the back story.

Liked the the way it finished, the sickening crunch as he connected with the pole. Good work.

DDII

Anari
May 31st, 2015, 06:39 AM
Loved it! One question...do you mean careen rather than career?

Issachar
July 11th, 2015, 06:51 AM
Jamboree,
This reminds me of the first few chapters of Jack London's "White Fang". I liked it, it was gripping and you did a good job setting up the scene. As someone who carries an old style jackknife I appreciated how you handled the protagonists choice of weapons. A knife like that is better than nothing, but only marginally. Good use of perspective as well, as a reader I certainly felt as though I was viewing it from the protagonist's eyes.
Issachar

Jamboree
July 15th, 2015, 11:41 PM
Hi all,

Many thanks for the comments.

Didier2nd, Mars is stronger than the average human hence why he can hold the wolf off of him and subsequently throw him out of the tent. However, I understand why you would see it as unrealistic since you had no context to work with.

Anari, I had intended to use careers instead of careen but now that you have mentioned it I think that the latter is a better word to use. I won't edit the piece here but I will change the original copy on my laptop.

Issachar, the choice of weapon was very deliberate. Mars (the narrator) is a physically enhanced human and so giving him a more deadly weapon, such as the metal pole he gets in the end, would have made the fight much more one sided and a quicker scene. Which would have made it a less interesting scene for the reader. That was my thinking behind giving him only a small knife anyway.

Renaissance Man
October 3rd, 2015, 03:16 PM
I started reading the opening of Mars, yesterday. I found it as droll as a textbook with a spectacular one-line opening. That opening started the story, mid-story. This chapter does exactly what I was going to recommend you do to the opening. Convey what's going on, through dialogue and action as opposed to textbook paragraphs. I find the story unique, certainly. I'm a little confused, but that's to be expected since I read the first couple paragraphs of the opening yesterday and this today.

It's got potential as a story and you're definitely a good writer in progress. I'm positive of that!

Abishai100
October 28th, 2015, 05:15 PM
I get the feeling that you want to feel the proximity of the creature to the character Lauren. I definitely appreciate your visceral attitude with 'beastly contact,' but I want to ask you what you think about gender as it relates to horror?