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Björn U. B.
September 29th, 2015, 06:21 PM
The Madness in the Mines

I can’t see. I feel the wet and slippery ground beneath me. There is a pain pulsating through my head. The air is cold and tastes salty. I’m freezing. Slowly I try to heave myself off the ground, but a numbing pain shoots through my bones and I’m falling right back and hit my head. I moan and hunch like a worm in the dirt. I feel the wet coldness of the floor resting on my cheek. This damn darkness. I can’t even see my hand, as I hold it in front of my eyes. Sideways, with legs pulled to my body, shaken from the cold, I remain.

The pain that just shot through my entire system has ceased and, pulling together the very last powers, I finally am able to get up into a sitting position. Arms clasped around my knees I scan the surroundings in desperate hope for only a small source of light. Turns out nothing’s there. I stare into the yawning blackness for a long time, trying hard to figure out where I am and how I got here. My clothes stick to my body with cold sweat that mixes with the dirt on my skin. I feel my heart beating all the way up to my throat.

I try to think hard. The headache gets worse. I come to the conclusion that I can’t stay here. I push myself up from the ground and stretch out my arms in search for something to hold on to. My arms don’t go very far until I feel the walls. They are as wet, cold and slippery as the floor. Slowly, my hands resting on the walls, my legs trembling with fear and feeling softer with every step, I move forward. I listen to my heavy breathing. Facets slowly begin to take shape, but there’s not much there to recognize. Nothing more than the outlines of the walls, which, as I have figured out by now, must be of some sort of stone.

I cringe, as I hit my head on the low ceiling. I moan, grasp the back of my head in pain and curse to myself. Now the headache is even worse. Between my fingers I can feel something warm and sticky running all the way down to the back of my hand. I shudder, but the wound doesn’t feel deep, so I bend down my head, put my hands back against the walls and proceed in moving through the darkness. At times a drop of cold water pours down from the ceiling, crawls into the collar of my shirt and slowly runs down my back. Pearls of sweat push out of my forehead. The air doesn’t seem as cold as before, but I squint my eyes at every pulse of terrible pain that exceeds from the wound at the back of my head, runs to my temples and expands all the way down to my teeth.

I pause for a moment, as I hear a sound. It is very distant and it is impossible to clearly define its origins, but it sounds like some material knocking on another. My spirits temporarily rise in expectation of another individual that, as well as me, for unknown reasons, has been trapped in this cold wet cave. I slightly increase my step, so to reach for help quicker, but also keep it down to not hit my head again. I feel like the knocking gets louder. Oddly enough, it’s not cold anymore at all. My head still tortures me though with piercing pain like that of a thousand daggers.

I notice that my breathing gets quicker. My heart rises in excitement. In the distance I can see a bowl of light; dim like maybe that of a small lamp. I increase speed even more and the light (and therefore rescue, I hope) draws nearer and nearer. As I come closer, I also notice the knocking getting louder and more definable. It is definitely a solid material hitting another one with great force.

Finally, I internally rise in excitement, as I stand amidst the bowl of light. I watch my body taking a visible shape again and at first startle at the dry blood on my hands. Then I scan my surroundings. I seem to be in some kind of tunnel of brown and black stone. A small lantern stands on the ground and illuminates another individual; a man slightly bend forward, mightily heaving a pickaxe above his head only to bring it down with uttermost force against the black stonewall.

I stand there watching him, but he doesn’t notice me. He keeps hitting the stone, as if in some mad trance. Finally I dare to speak up to get his attention. “Excuse me Sir. Where are we? I woke up in this strange place and I don’t know how…” I swallow the last words in shock, as the man ceases work, rises up from his bent down stature and reveals his face to me. It is completely covered with black dust...and the eyes. Those eyes. They glow with empty, but furious madness. His mouth is half open, as he just stares at me with that threatening stare. I stand paralyzed with shock, as he mutters the mad words in slow exhaustion:

“I have to dig...We have to dig...YOU have to dig…”

As the man moves towards me, I break away from paralyzation, turn around and am about to run, but, oh dear God, there is another man facing me now. His face is equally covered with dust and it can barely be told apart from that of his companion. He has the same eyes...those mad eyes. He looks down upon me.

“We have to dig…”

I hear a fizzling, something flying through the air behind me, I scream, but...

Elvenswordsman
September 30th, 2015, 02:28 AM
Hey! A quick tip for getting comments on this content.

Format your paragraphs, and add an extra line between paragraphs.

It really spaces out the reading so it doesn't look jumbled.

Björn U. B.
September 30th, 2015, 11:03 AM
Thank you very much for the advice! I'll do that right away.

Harper J. Cole
October 1st, 2015, 09:22 PM
Björn,

Thanks, that was a fun story. I like tales where the hero is dropped straight into a strange situation, with no memory of who he is or how he got there. 'Hunching like a worm in the dirt' was good imagery.

There were a few instances of awkward phrasing; these bits stuck out for me ...


The pain that just shot through my entire system has ceased and, pulling together the very last powers, I finally am able to get up into a sitting position.

This should probably be 'pulling together the very last of my power' or 'pulling together the very last of my strength'.


My spirits temporarily rise in expectation of another individual that, as well as me, for unknown reasons, has been trapped in this cold wet cave.

You can probably cut out 'as well as me' here, as the readers already know who he is being compared to.


I slightly increase my step, so to reach for help quicker, but also keep it down to not hit my head again.

Here 'pace' sounds more natural than 'step'.


I watch my body taking a visible shape again and at first startle at the dry blood on my hands.

Here I'd say something like: 'As I watch, my body slowly grows visible; I'm startled by the dry blood on my hands'.

I enjoyed the dream-like quality of the piece; I hope you'll explore the setting further.

HC

Björn U. B.
October 1st, 2015, 11:37 PM
Thank you a lot for the detailed feedback. I really appreciate it. It gave me some good stuff to work on. Also thank you for reading the story!

JudyLea64
October 2nd, 2015, 03:22 AM
Spooky! Great use of imagery.

20oz
October 5th, 2015, 07:06 PM
Eerie story. You've captured the bewilderment and sensory details well. I can still feel the drop of water sliding along my back.

You stayed within the limits of your story. You did not overthink this. I appreciate it as a reader.

As a writer, it's a different story.

I'd have said it was too much detail, but I think it was intentional. If that's the case, you succeeded. However, you're missing the next step, editting out the unnecessary fat.

Your original paragraph:


I can’t see. I feel the wet and slippery ground beneath me. There is a pain pulsating through my head. The air is cold and tastes salty. I’m freezing. Slowly I try to heave myself off the ground, but a numbing pain shoots through my bones and I’m falling right back and hit my head. I moan and hunch like a worm in the dirt. I feel the wet coldness of the floor resting on my cheek. This damn darkness. I can’t even see my hand, as I hold it in front of my eyes. Sideways, with legs pulled to my body, shaken from the cold, I remain.

Editted paragraph:


I can’t see. There is a pain pulsating through my head. The air is cold and tastes salty. Slowly I try to heave myself off the ground, but a numbing pain shoots through my bones and I’m falling right back and hit my head. I moan and hunch like a worm in the dirt. I feel the wet coldness of the floor resting on my cheek. Sideways, with legs pulled to my body, shaken from the cold, I remain.

I'm only suggesting you edit out the unnecessary details because short stories have a tendency to be concise and taut. But I think your skill with details will be important to have if you ever choose to write a novel.

SonicShane97
October 6th, 2015, 10:35 AM
efk40-0-490901-0==-=5=-3=1=-5

20oz
October 6th, 2015, 03:38 PM
Is it alright to use the same phrase twice within a short period of time? For example, in this story Bjorn says "I scan my surroundings" then about five paragraphs down he repeats the phrase again, this time "Then I scan my surroundings."

Personally, I think it's fine here. It's only used twice, and they're paragraphs apart.

I do see your plight though. A thesaurus would have been helpful here.

SonicShane97
October 6th, 2015, 04:55 PM
67905790--34=-=-600-u89j

H.Brown
January 22nd, 2016, 01:02 AM
some fantastic points have been raised already however I felt when reading your short story Bjorn that the wrong word has been used for the discription such as "...a man bend slighlty forwards..." this is slightly confusing to the reader as it interupt the flow of whole piece, was this a diliberate choice on your part to add to the sense of madness clearly conveyed throughout the piece? On the whole the story was entertaining and gripping. You have clearly grasped the genre and convey that feeling to the reader. Great piece just needs a little more revision i think in (as already pointed out above) making the word count mmore concise for the short story format, as there are words that can be edited out to improve the overall pace of the story. I hope this feedback is conductive to you. Great job and carry on writing.