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Este
April 25th, 2015, 09:03 PM
This is a short story about a nightmare sequence that I wrote during my GCSEs in secondary school. See what you think.

The Nightmare, written on 22nd March 2010.

It's raining. Heavier than I've seen. So heavy no part of my body is dry and the water is up to my ankles.

My clothes cannot absorb any more as I wade through a world I've seen before in my sleep.

Thunder illuminates the barren prairie in which this cattle town once stood. To the left of me, a row of hurridly constructed buildings, soggy wood holding them up. Opposite me, an assortment of fenced yards that once upon a time held wailing cows awaiting their fate after the long drives. Now their wailing is the harsh gale that I fight against.

Doors bang shut and worn floorboards creak so loudly I should be deaf, but my body is numb from the rain. I can feel or hear anything. I can still see though, and it isn't scary until I look past the rain and toward the endless plains which seem to move and change shape.

A herd of galloping steeds charge as fast as ever, eerily glowing in the pitch black night, occupied by the ghostly figures of tiresome cowboys. I watch as they storm onto the main street and stop almost as fast as they arrived. Dismounting from their rides, the cowboys take long deliberate strides toward me. I can't see their faces, then lightning strikes and I gasp in horror at their skeletonized forms. They wear the traditional boots, Stetsons and leather jackets, but the skin is bones, completely gone. I can't run, because the rising water has anchored me to the spot. They stop walking, and my eyes meet their emotionless, empty skulls. Like a western showdown, only I don't have a gun.

Before I know it, they reach back and draw, revealing six shooters so bright and shiny they blind me. I can only reduce myself to a drenched, unintelligible shape as one by one they lower their arms at level height with my head and then together, like an orchestra preparing for their audience, they pull the trigger. A flash...

Sitting up straight in bed, I cannot stop my relief that it was all a dream.

I never know if I died or not at the hands of those fearsome cowboys. Did their shiny revolvers demolish my head or some miraculous fluke I escaped. Awake, I can't stop thinking about my fate. When night comes once more, I will dream again about that ghost town and risk the fear, the rain, the numbness...to find out.

Paladin
April 27th, 2015, 06:17 PM
Very interesting. It is freighting, but in a strange non traditional sort of way. The helpless feeling is always freighting, and the cowboys resembling death are also. The Old west genre is not one I would normally associate with this sort of horror. Which is what I think makes it interesting.

Entity
July 18th, 2015, 11:26 AM
I liked your story overall, but


I can feel or hear anything. I can still see though I assume you meant to put can't on the first can.


revealing six shooters so bright and shiny they blind me I also would have worded this a little differently as well, maybe just using bright, maybe I'm being picky and weird cause its 3:30 in the morning.

Overall though I thought it was a good story, had a good atmosphere.

curtis
July 21st, 2015, 06:49 AM
I like the ominous overtones. The imagery reminds me of High Planes Drifter, a very good movie.

CircuitRanger
August 18th, 2015, 05:51 AM
you have a great concept... but the overall presentation and writing style is too flowery... overky flowery and poetic writing tends to distract the reader and overall is very....very pretentious. if you want to make an impact in your writing. be straightforward and to the point.

chrismackey
August 22nd, 2015, 09:48 PM
I don't usually like first person POV, but this is good.

Rabber
October 19th, 2015, 04:28 AM
Nice imagery in this story. That's something I need to work on myself.

crimewriter95
November 16th, 2015, 08:43 PM
This is actually quite beautiful. To me it speaks to the chaos of death and wonder of what might've been.

beatrice-cenci
March 24th, 2016, 01:06 AM
I really liked it, good job!

I would suggest being more descriptive with body language when she wakes up. you say " I cannot stop my relief that it was all a dream." instead maybe you should describe it more. like "I was covered in sweat. Hair matted to my forehead. My chest rising and falling with every breath." Something like that.

Nihilist
March 31st, 2016, 03:45 PM
Kinda has a supernatural touch to it. Overall, it was good. Are you going to elaborate on it?

Kadrek
May 15th, 2016, 08:43 PM
Is this a pirates of the Caribeann spinoff with cowboys?
Maybe it's because of the darkness or because of the dream aspect but I feel like a description of the environment is missing to get a good view of the scene. What is the character stuck in?

AdventureSeeker
September 22nd, 2016, 01:44 AM
The part where you wrote about the soggy wood holding the buildings in place sounds much like my small town. There's not much money to tear down and rebuild so we just wait patiently until they crumble on heir own. Other than that, this story is beautiful. I admire the darkness and I'm eager to read more of your work. Keep it up!

Ghouls
October 27th, 2016, 04:33 AM
I liked the descriptions. I think there's scope to expand it further.

Tulip
November 4th, 2016, 08:43 PM
Great imagery. Very spooky. You said GCSE and I assumed you were from the UK and then the story had a very US feel....I learned a new word too! 'Skeletonise' - I assumed you meant 'skeletal' until I googled it to check. BTW folks, don't do that.

Jay Greenstein
November 5th, 2016, 03:46 AM
The problem with telling the story, as you do here (I'm talking about talking to the reader, as a storyteller, not your use of first person) you tend to forget that as the writer, and knowing the scene, you tend to forget to mention what's obvious to you, but may not be to a reader. Look at a few lines as an acquiring editor would:
It's raining. Heavier than I've seen. So heavy no part of my body is dry and the water is up to my ankles.You have context for this. But from a reader's viewpoint: Where are we in time and space? Why are we there? Who are we as a person? If the reader is to live the story, as against just learning the details, such things matter. Remember, you can't retroactively remove confusion. And your reader can't know that you will clarify later. So best to provide writing that gives the reader context for what's happening as it happens. Think of how a reader's perception of the words would change were we to know the situation as protagonist knows it.
My clothes cannot absorb any more as I wade through a world I've seen before in my sleep.Unless the reader knows why this is being said, why does it matter? The protagonist is wet. So what? We don't know gender, age, status, or what matters and why. So how much impact can the story have for the reader? Directly applicable to this are the words of E. L. Doctorow: “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader, not the fact that it’s raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”

Investing a bit of time digging into the tricks of fiction would be time wisely spent. At the moment you're informing the reader, not entertaining. Your goal, though, is to entertain them.

And as a not so minor matter: never, never, never open a story with a dream. It is a 100% guaranteed rejection, because if it's written well, the reader invests time orienting themself in the scene and then, in effect, you say, "Ha ha...fooled you. None of this is real, so you wasted the time to read it.

Countrygirl1
December 20th, 2016, 05:57 PM
This is actually very thrilling in my opinion. As I was reading, I could see what was going on in my head. My teacher always said that a good story must have imagery.

SystemCheck
December 24th, 2016, 02:09 AM
It's raining. Heavier than I've seen. So heavy no part of my body is dry and the water is up to my ankles. My clothes cannot absorb any more as I wade through a world I've seen before in my sleep.

It's pouring. A downpour. I'm soaked, the water lapping around my waist. It's frightening and yet not. I've seen this world before in my dreams.



Thunder illuminates the barren prairie in which this cattle town once stood. To the left of me, a row of hurridly constructed buildings, soggy wood holding them up. Opposite me, an assortment of fenced yards that once upon a time held wailing cows awaiting their fate after the long drives. Now their wailing is the harsh gale that I fight against.

Jagged lightning flares across the midnight sky. Gone, it's all gone. The "cattle??" town I once knew. All that stands is the old buildings, the wood stained and pitted. I can't see past them. To my right, the cattle pens are empty. Skeletal posts visible just above the waterline. If I close my eyes I can still hear the "wailing??" cattle awaiting their fate.



Doors bang shut and worn floorboards creak so loudly I should be deaf, but my body is numb from the rain. I can feel or hear anything. I can still see though, and it isn't scary until I look past the rain and toward the endless plains which seem to move and change shape.

This a ghost town? Why the slamming doors, etc?



A herd of galloping steeds charge as fast as ever, eerily glowing in the pitch black night, occupied by the ghostly figures of tiresome cowboys. I watch as they storm onto the main street and stop almost as fast as they arrived. Dismounting from their rides, the cowboys take long deliberate strides toward me. I can't see their faces, then lightning strikes and I gasp in horror at their skeletonized forms. They wear the traditional boots, Stetsons and leather jackets, but the skin is bones, completely gone. I can't run, because the rising water has anchored me to the spot. They stop walking, and my eyes meet their emotionless, empty skulls. Like a western showdown, only I don't have a gun.

Where'd these people come from? It also needs work.



Before I know it, they reach back and draw, revealing six shooters so bright and shiny they blind me. I can only reduce myself to a drenched, unintelligible shape as one by one they lower their arms at level height with my head and then together, like an orchestra preparing for their audience, they pull the trigger. A flash...

Sitting up straight in bed, I cannot stop my relief that it was all a dream.

I never know if I died or not at the hands of those fearsome cowboys. Did their shiny revolvers demolish my head or some miraculous fluke I escaped. Awake, I can't stop thinking about my fate. When night comes once more, I will dream again about that ghost town and risk the fear, the rain, the numbness...to find out.


Yeah. Nice theme but it needs work.

It is disjointed. You go from wading through ankle-high water - how does one wade through ankle-high water? - in what seems to be a ghost town with slamming doors to apparently being shot by skeletal cowboys that came out of nowhere.

plawrence
April 4th, 2017, 08:55 PM
For me, it's sometimes the little details that make me stop reading - or continue. For example:


It's raining. Heavier than I've seen. So heavy no part of my body is dry and the water is up to my ankles.

I would change this to:

"It's raining. So hard that no part of my body is dry and the water is up to my ankles."

IOW, the added detail really isn't needed to convey the sense of it. In fact, you could really reduce it even further.

"It's raining. No part of my body is dry and the water is up to my ankles."

Brevity increases the tension. Detail deadens it.

I hope this helps.

C.Stone
April 19th, 2017, 05:47 PM
I loved this. Think it was written very well, and was easy to read.