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C.Stone
June 24th, 2018, 03:57 AM
This is my first time ever posting something I've written online. Any criticism or advice is greatly appreciated. I had the idea for this on a long ride home from work. I've been thinking about turning it into a chronicle of short stories involving the same character or maybe even a novel one day. Thanks for reading!


Hitman Chronicles:


"He's dead" a girls voice whispered. She hovered over the body of a man. He was face down, sprawled out in the street. His legs and arms extended like he was in the middle of making a snow angel.

A young man kneeled down near the body and took a deep breath. His breath made thick clouds in the cold air. "Are you sure?" he asked, wiping cold sweat from his forehead.

"Yes I'm sure" she replied sternly, "Can't you see I have my hand on his neck, I’m checking for a pulse. There's nothing".

"We gotta get outta here then" he said. He stood up and started walking backwards towards the sedan that was parked a few yards away. "Come on Hailey" he insisted "No one will ever find out, we just have to go now."

Hailey stared down at the man’s body. Half of his face resting in a puddle of blood. She began to cry and brought her chin to her chest, covering her eyes with her palms. "We can't just leave him here like this" she cried. "This is our fault, it's not right. We need to call the police Jack, it's the right thing to do."

Jack screamed "Have you lost your mind!? We got 30 kilos of dope in the trunk. I had to worry about the pigs the last 600 mile. Now we’re 20 miles from being home free and you want to call the cops over some dead guy no one gives a rats ass about? Look at him! Black trench coat, rusted old mountain bike. He’s a damn drifter for god's sake!” He stood there for a moment looking at her, his arms out to the side looking for agreement.

Tears rolled down Haileys face. Dripping off at the tip of her chin and falling to the street.She muttered something under her breath.

“What?” Jack asked “I can’t hear you”

She spun around and looked at him. “We have to bury him” she screamed, sobbing harder than before.

Jack knew burying the body wasn’t an option. There was three feet of snow on the ground and it was freezing out. He also knew that Hailey wasn’t going to get back in the car with him until they at least got the body out of the street. He looked around him. The snow was still falling, lightly now. There were no other cars to be seen, the street seemed deserted. The silence of the air was paralyzing. The cold,harsh wind blew against his face and he could feel his eyebrows freezing. Then it came to him. “I have an idea” he exclaimed. “There’s a river up ahead, just a few miles” he explained.” We can wrap the guy in one of the blankets covering the stash, then drop him off the overpass. The current will bring him down to sound where he will meet his forever resting place. Seems like an honorable way to go if you ask me?” Jack smiled. He was proud of his idea. He usually followed other people's plans of action, he wasn’t usually the planner himself.

Hailey looked up at him. Her eyes full of tears and her makeup smeared. “Okay” she whimpered.

“You stay here and i'll go back to the car. I'll wrap him up then you can help me put him in the back.I’ll be right back” Jack said as he headed for the car.
As he approached the car something caught his attention. He walked around to the front end and saw the damage the accident had cause for the first time. His passenger side headlight was smashed and slowly flickering on and off. The hood and fender was pushed in like a crushed soda can. There was a low mumble coming from under the hood and the radiator was smoking. “Jesus” he said. “From a fucking bicycle?” he shook his head. He reached into the drivers side and pulled the trunk lever. The trunk flew open, rocking back and forth for a moment. Jack put his hand on the trunk and looked in. A red-plaid blanket cover half the trunk, a blue and white one covered the other half. He pulled back the red blanket revealing dozens of white squares of cocaine, all neatly packaged in saran wrap. He had to pause for a moment. Seeing the drugs suddenly took his attention from his current situation, and reminded him of all the money and good times he had ahead of him. He smiled and let out a sigh of relief.

Hailey was still kneeling over the body. She looked towards the car and saw Jack pulling the blanket from the trunk. She put her face back into her hands. “I’m sorry whoever you are” she said. “It was just an accident, this wasn't supposed-” something had stopped her mid sentence. She suddenly felt a tightening around her neck. She opened her eyes. The dead man had his hand around her throat and was squeezing with all his strength. She gasped for air but could get none. Her face began to turn bright red and her eyes became watery.She tried to pull his hands from her throat but it was no use. She watched as he slowly reached his free hand into the front of his trench coat pocket. He pulled out a long needle filled with a clear liquid. She squirmed a little. Hoping in her mind that Jack would come running at that moment, tackling the man to the street. Unfortunately that was not the case. The man brought the tip of the needle to his mouth,clenching the tip with his teeth and removing the blue safety cover. He slowly injected it into her neck. She felt an instant burning sensation flood through her body. A few seconds passed. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head. She no longer felt the hand on her neck. She no longer felt anything at all.

Jack struggled to get the car in reverse. “Come on you bitch” he said, jamming the steering wheel shifter back and forth. Finally he felt the car jolt and knew it was in gear. He slammed on the gas and the car accelerated backwards. Slamming on the brakes the car came to a screeching stop. He hopped out and was surprised to see that next to the man's body in the street was Hailey, laying on her side. He went to her and turned her over. She must have fainted, he thought to himself. Then it hit him. Like a ball of fire reaching into his soul through his throat. He grabbed for it, and felt the hard plastic of the needle sticking out of his neck.Jack fell forward on to Hailey. The two of their bodies piled on top of one another. The dead man stood up, wiping the red coloring from the side of his face. He pulled a phone out of his pocket and took a picture of Jack and Hailey. He scrolled through his contacts and sent it to someone named ‘Willie’. A moment later he received a text back, “good”. The man slipped the phone back into his pocket then glanced at his watch. Just shy of 8 pm.

The man stuffed Jacks body into the trunk, then put Haileys on top. He got in the driver's seat and headed in the direction they were going. He crossed the overpass that he had hear Jack mention during his grand scheme, He would've been disappointed to find that it was fully frozen over. Jack had said it was a river that lead to the sound. Little did he know it was nothing more than a small stream that lead to the local fishing hole. If someone threw a body in there it would be found within hours. “Rookies” he said to himself. It was almost 8:30 now and he was nearing his destination. He pulled into a deserted train yard and turned off his one working headlight, He drove slowly between the rows of box trains, looking for any possible witnesses. The place looked clear. He parked the car in the far corner of the yard and got to work. It wouldn’t take long.

15 minutes later the scene was set. Jacks body was propped up in the driver's seat, Haileys in the passenger. He broke open one of the blocks of dope and poured some of it out on Jack's lap. Drug deal gone wrong. The perfect story. The man stood in front of the car, admiring his work. He pulled a 9mm pistol from his jacket and aimed it at the windshield. The sound of the gun echoed through the empty train yard. Nightly critters scattered and sleeping pigeons fleed. He shot again at the opposite side of the windshield this time. Both Jack and Haley's dead bodies were now complemented with perfect holes in their foreheads. It wouldn’t be long until the shots were reported. The cops could pinpoint the location of a gunshot from twenty miles away these days. He tucked the gun back into his jacket, his attention now focused on a large green container back behind where the car was. He headed towards it. The container was covered in graffiti and rust. The corners were rusted so bad they were beginning to become large holes. The man reached forward and pulled at the handle on the front wall. It swung open with a loud metal on metal squeak. It was dark inside, but he didn’t have to see far to find what he was looking for.

Moments later a loud rumble filled the train yard. The man exited the container on a red and white Kawasaki motorcycle. He was wearing an all black helmet with the lens slight opened, He cranked the throttle, kicking up dirt and covering the car in a thin layer.. The bike flew through the yard, reaching the exit in mere seconds. He headed down the street, keeping his lights off and sticking to the side streets. Finally he reached the entrance to the parkway. He was home free from here. Only 300 miles to go.

bdcharles
June 26th, 2018, 12:47 PM
It's a neat premise, the idea of the hitman masquerading as a body. Some pretty good scope there. Technically, no big spelling issues that I could see but the grammar could use some work, particularly around dialogue; eg:

"He's dead[comma or exclamation mark here]" a girls voice whispered.

There's a few of those so just make sure your punctuation's squared away.

One question I did have was if Hailey checked his pulse and confirmed he was dead, then ... how come he wasn't?

The style of the piece ... that might also benefit from a little tightening; eg you might watch for overwriting; eg:

Tears rolled down Haileys face. Dripping off at the tip of her chin and falling to the street.She muttered something under her breath.

Why is the sentence beginning "Dripping" in a separate sentence from the previous one? It's the same thing happening, and it's a fragment, suggesting it should carry some significance. You could just do:

Tears rolled down Haileys face where they dripped off the tip of her chin onto the blacktop.She muttered something under her breath.

That way you don't belabour the image and you can also set scene (swapping street for blacktop). It's about emphasising what's worth emphasising, which tends not to be description but things of interest like bits of foreshadowing etc. Scenic and visual details form more of the background, even if they reveal character.

You can also swap some adverbs for stronger text:

"Yes I'm sure" she replied sternly, "Can't you see I have my hand on his neck, I’m checking for a pulse. There's nothing".

You can depict her sternness on other ways other than telling us it's there. Show us. Draw Hailey's face into lines or something:

"Yes I'm sure!" One hand was on the man's neck. Hailey's face was drawn into tight lines of near-panic. "I’m checking for a pulse," she said. "There's nothing".

Make your dialogue realistic. People leave out info, mutter, are vague and so on.

Anyway hope this helps. Not a bad short, all in all. :) Good luck

C.Stone
June 26th, 2018, 01:34 PM
Wow! Thank you so much. That just opened my eyes to so much. Your the first person to ever critique my work and I really appreciate it. I'm excited to go back and edit now with a better understanding of what needs to be done. Really can't thank you enough. Also, I meant to add something in there about either about Hailey being uneducated in checking for a pulse, or the man being skilled in slowing his breath but it looks like I missed that part.

Jack of all trades
June 26th, 2018, 02:47 PM
I think it would be stronger if you open with her hand pulling away from the body, rather than a minute later telling us that her hand is touching. Don't add details later. Go back and put them in where they belong.

Your SPaG is pretty good. A few errors. Names get commas around them : "We have to do something, Jack." "This is our fault." is actually a separate sentence.

Holding one's breath doesn't prevent a pulse. A tourniquet might make the pulse undetectable to an amateur, though it seems that's not an option.

Remember tire marks get left in snow.

Not bad for a first try.

bdcharles
June 26th, 2018, 05:17 PM
Wow! Thank you so much. That just opened my eyes to so much. Your the first person to ever critique my work and I really appreciate it. I'm excited to go back and edit now with a better understanding of what needs to be done. Really can't thank you enough. Also, I meant to add something in there about either about Hailey being uneducated in checking for a pulse, or the man being skilled in slowing his breath but it looks like I missed that part.

Glad to help :) I still remember my first crit for work I showed others - I read it the other day, for the first time in years. It was very exciting indeed!

With regard to Hailey being unversed in the art of checking a dead man's pulse and so forth, that sounds fine, though this is all stuff you can add in to the text. You may need to consider also which point of view you are in. Who is the main character here? I ask because readers would be privy to that person's thoughts and personality but all other facts they know would be gleaned by observation. For example, Let's be Hailey, checking the pulse:

"Yes I'm sure" she replied sternly. She wasn't though; she'd have to trust that what she'd seen in the movies would work. The man wasn't moving, that was what she knew. "Can't you see I have my hand on his neck, checking for a pulse. There's nothing".

So there we have a little bit of Hailey's inner thoughts which show us what sort of person, very briefly, she is. This is useful for getting readers to identify with a character; to care, in other words. Of course this may not be relevant to your story, but it's an example to hopefully illustrate what I mean.

Mind you, having done all that, it would then be tricky to reveal stuff that she wouldn't know. This fellow may be an expert in slowing his heart rate and whatnot, or Jack may have some other thoughts about the matter, but if you put it right here, without care, it may jar. I mention this because a little later you head-hop, you switch between them. Here, we are clearly Jack:


Jack knew burying the body wasn’t an option. There was three feet of snow on the ground and it was freezing out. He also knew that Hailey wasn’t going to get back in the car with him until they at least got the body out of the street. He looked around him.

but later we become Hailey:

She squirmed a little. Hoping in her mind that Jack would come running at that moment, tackling the man to the street. Unfortunately that was not the case.

Who are we? Who are you, when you're writing it and dreaming it all up? I understand that it shouldn't matter - that the events happen no matter what - but we want to storify it and make it come alive. We can do that using perspectives and point-of-view. It's a little like manipulating your reader, almost hypnotising them; using the power of suggestion to give them the experience of these things actually transpiring. It will not only make the events more vivid but it will make your characters seem more real too. Too much head-hopping without a good clear break like a new chapter or one of those liney-breaky paragraphy * * * asterisk things can make your characters seem less genuine, unless you are going for 3rd person omniscient, in which case you may want your narrator to have a certain compelling personality and perspective to help it all along. Give it a try, anyway, and see what you come up with.