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View Full Version : Trapped and Bleeding Chapter 1



EthanWarwright
January 27th, 2020, 07:18 AM
Word Count: 1,860 Words

This is the first story I ever published online. I originally released it on Wattpad during November of last year. It's five chapters long, and this is the first one. Really hope I can get some thoughtful responses from you all. :)


As his vision finally began to clear in the wake of the hours of darkness, Adam groaned. When his eyes fluttered open, he found having them closed didn't make much difference. It was pitch black outside and gazing into the sky the young man found not one star beaming down towards the Earth. The only source of light came from the faint glow of the dashboard of his car which had remained on this entire time.

Soon, Adam's other senses began to return. He could hear the soft pitter patter of rain splashing down onto the windshield. He then tasted iron and spat instinctively, leaving an all-too-familiar red substance splattered all over his pant leg. He tried to move his left arm to hopefully remove some of the blood before it set into his Levi's but found the limb would not obey its neurological command. It was at that point he felt it.
Adam winced and fought back tears, turning his head to the side only to discover a large, jagged piece of metal protruding from his left shoulder. Like the rain outside, his blood dripped in a steady rhythm, falling down into the narrow crevice between the driver's seat and the car door. The twenty-five-year-old could feel himself starting to hyperventilate as the events leading up to his current predicament began to return to his memory. He'd been driving home after seeing his girlfriend. To both Adam's chagrin and satisfaction he ended up staying longer than expected for.... let's just say activities that went beyond simple hugs and kisses. Consequently, when he finally departed, it was already well past midnight.
That part of the state was in the middle of bumfuck nowhere. Houses were separated by a good five to ten miles if not more, and for Adam, his primary concern while driving there was plowing his shitty 1993 Toyota pickup right into the side of some dumbass deer that decided to sprint out into his path. In fact, this became such a source of paranoia for the young man that he failed to notice how the headlights of the oncoming SUV were pointed right at him until it was too late. There was a crash and a series of violent jolts as the truck was unceremoniously sent rolling down into a deep ditch followed by absolutely nothing as Adam's world shut down abruptly with one good knock to the skull.



That's right.. Another driver!



Ignoring the immense pain he was in, Adam frantically looked out his shattered windshield and windows, doing his best not to shift his upper body too much. He hadn't remembered much from Mr. Douglas's First Aid Class, but he could recall something about not removing an object that had become lodged into your body. That would make the bleeding worse. To his dismay, he could see no indication of another vehicle.



"Hello! Anybody out there?!"



Adam hoped the other car had ended up behind him, outside of his visual range. He didn't want to believe this asshole had simply sped off, leaving him to die out here in the wilderness. As the seconds ticked by and no auditory reply to his exclamation was heard, Adam started to believe this may have been the case, but then..



"Over here...."


The voice was weak, almost sickly, but nevertheless Adam registered it as if the person had been shouting at the top of his lungs directly into his ear. Sure enough the source of the noise was behind Adam, and encouraged by this development he strained his neck to get a look at the vehicle and the person operating it. Alas, even had he been able to achieve an unobstructed view, the blanket of darkness formed by the nighttime air made it impossible to get a visual.



"Hey! I can hear you! Can you move?"



"No" the man coughed violently as he responded to Adam's question. "I'm stuck! My car's- " He gave a labored wheeze mid-sentence. Clearly he was struggling to breathe. "My car's flipped over and smashed in like a goddamn sardine can. The doors won't open and I can't fit through the windows."



"Damn! Well I can't move either man! My arm's pinned to the seat by this metal thing, and I'm not gonna risk bleeding out. Are you hurt?"



"No but-" The stranger began hacking and wheezing yet again before he could finish his thought. "Sorry, my asthma's acting up again. Hold on. I need my inhaler."



Maybe that's what caused him to crash into me. Adam articulated internally. Can't get mad at him though. That's just going to make us begin panicking.


"What's your name, man? I'm Adam!"


"Name's Phil, kid. I've been trying to get your attention for about an hour. I was starting to think you were dead."


"Nope. Just a bit roughed up" the younger man joked. "So when's the ambulance coming to get us?"


"There... there isn't an ambulance coming for us.. Nobody's coming for us.."


It took a second for the statement to fully register to Adam. Once it did, he spoke again, but this time with an audible quiver in his throat.



"What do you mean nobody's coming? Didn't you call 911?"



"Can't. Phone's broken. You got one though, right? All you younguns do."



"Right!" Adam rifled through his pockets with his uninjured right hand, but to his horror, the sleek little Samsung he'd gotten for his birthday last spring was gone. His eyes darted across the interior of his vehicle, and sure enough, the phone was now lying on the backseat carpet on the passenger side. He tried to reach for it, but alas, his fingertips couldn't even glance off the edge of the screen. However, he didn't stop trying until he could feel the jagged steel in his shoulder start to tear its way through undamaged flesh, muscle, and bone.



"Fuck! Fuck fuckfuckfuckfuck!" Adam slammed his fist against the driver's side door, gritting his teeth in agonizing frustration.



"What's wrong? Don't you have it?"



"The fucking phone is on the other side of the car and I can't reach it. Must've fallen out of my pocket during the crash."



"Shit!" Phil now spoke with a higher amount of clarity and authority and he no longer exhibited any shortness of breath. "Hey wait! I can see your lights are still on, and your car looks like it's right side up. Try driving it back onto the road!"



"Yes! You're a goddamn genius! I'd kiss you if I could, Phil!"



Adam hadn't tried steering with one hand before.



First time for everything, right?



But fate at this point seemed to conspire against our trapped duo, for no sooner had Adam started to apply pressure to the gas pedal with his foot, the engine went kaput, its steady rumble subsiding and the last source of light in Adam's world cut off without warning.



"Goddammit! You've gotta be kidding me!" Adam haphazardly cradled his aching head in his hand before lying back in his seat and closing his eyes. "I'm gonna die here.." He mumbled.



"Hey kid! Don't worry about it!" Phil helpfully chimed from his metallic tomb. "Someone's bound to find us tomorrow morning! All we gotta do is power through the rest of this God awful night and we'll be in the clear!"



"Easy for you to say! You don't got a fucking shard jabbed into your arm!"



"Calm down will you? Getting all upset isn't going to do any good."



Adam grit his teeth and then bowed his head in defeat. He knew deep down Phil was right. The waiting game had begun.



"Alright then." He replied, turning to look into the void where, somewhere, his new acquaintance lay imprisoned by his former means of transport. "Let's talk I guess."



"Sure kid." the other man lightly chuckled. "Right to the point aren't you. Just like my wife."



"How old are you, Phil?" Adam chided "You keep calling me 'kid'"



"I'll be turning sixty in a week. You?"



"Twenty-five."



"Ah, so I take it you have a girlfriend then? Should be thinking about that kind of stuff now if you haven't already."



"Yeah. I have. Was just leavin' her place when you slammed into me."



"No kidding! Sorry about that by the way. I had a pretty bad attack back there, and sorta lost control of the wheel trying to get to my inhaler."



"No hard feelings. Where were you headed?"



"Nowhere in particular. Just had a fight with the missus and had to leave the house." Phil's once cheerful tone became clouded with great distaste. "You know how women are. When they're mad, the best thing to do is give 'em a wide berth."


"Tell me about it" Adam could remember the first fight he'd had with his girlfriend vividly. Something about him taking too much time away from her. The details were kind of fuzzy now though.



"Hey! Earth to Adam! You still awake or did you pass out on me again?"



Adam jolted from his thoughts.



"Yeah. I was just thinking..."



"Hmm? What about?"



"Well, I had an argument with my girl last night too. She was angry because we don't see each other as much as we used to. I was at her place tonight to make it up to her."



"Oh yeah? You guys watch a movie or something?"



"Yeah. Saw some Netflix, had a couple of beers, and then..." Adam trailed off without articulating the remaining series of events from that evening. He didn't really have to anyway. He could tell by Phil's bellowing laughter he'd still gotten across the point.



"Well kid, if you do die tonight, at least you won't be a virgin when you see St. Peter!"



"Shut the fuck up!" Adam snorted, now laughing as well even as the rain began to come down ever faster. For the next hour, it felt like these former strangers were good friends who had met in a bar after years of separation and were now catching up with each other's latest life goals and accomplishments. Adam told Phil about school, how he was managing to finally get his grades back up after hitting some major bumps in his academic career. In turn Phil told Adam about his job, how he'd dropped out of high school to work at his best friend's father's construction business. He'd been forced to retire last May after his asthma had gotten worse and he could no longer do his job without breaking into a coughing fit. Right as Phil was beginning to deviate into a story about his teenage years as the terror of his neighborhood, he stopped mid sentence.



"Do you hear that?"



"No. What?"



"Listen!"



The two sat in silence. Then, Adam heard it: A car's engine. Someone else was now traveling down that country road. The two men screamed, whooped, and hollered at the top of their lungs, and Phil, knowing his car battery still had some juice, bashed his fist into the horn until he and Adam could hear nothing but shrill ringing in their ears. Then, the headlights, as quickly as they appeared, vanished into the abyss.

KHK
January 27th, 2020, 05:03 PM
Overall, reads pretty well. Kept me on my toes to see what comes next.

Now, a few critical comments ;-)
Leaving aside a number of issues with punctuation and some repetitive words, my major observation is the inconsistency of the lexicon.

The setting is, as you say,

That part of the state was in the middle of bumfuck nowhere.
And the characters do speak accordingly, as much as I can tell.
But the narration fluctuates widely.
Words like predicament, immense, auditory, articulated... They simply don't feel like they belong in the character's head.

And the phrase

But fate at this point seemed to conspire against our trapped duo, for no sooner had Adam started...
sounds almost Victorian by comparison. :-)

Also, "our trapped duo" is a very special kind of narrator's voice that I don't believe is used anywhere else in the text. So this is another inconsistency.


As far as the plot goes, I've got only 2 concerns:

I don't quite get how the character's paranoia of deer made him miss the headlights of the oncoming vehicle on an empty road. Maybe make the connection a bit more explicit?
How did he know it was an SUV? It's after midnight, it's dark - all he'd be able to see are the headlights. Are those enough to judge it was an SUV?



Hope this helps.

EthanWarwright
January 27th, 2020, 06:23 PM
Thank you very much for the helpful comments. I suppose sometimes I can get a bit too eloquent with my vocabulary when it isnít appropriate. Iíll look into changing that. You also mentioned numerous punctuation issues. Could you please elaborate and provide a few examples so I understand what youíre referring to? Thanks again.

EthanWarwright
January 27th, 2020, 06:47 PM
One other thing a Iíll add is I tend to presume the characters can have different vocabulary and dialect than the narrator in a text. Thatís part of why the narrator in this story has more fancy ways of saying things than the characters. But if you think that distracts from the story, Iíll certainly try and change it.

KHK
January 27th, 2020, 07:10 PM
One other thing a I’ll add is I tend to presume the characters can have different vocabulary and dialect than the narrator in a text. That’s part of why the narrator in this story has more fancy ways of saying things than the characters. But if you think that distracts from the story, I’ll certainly try and change it.

As far as I'm concerned, that's a perfectly valid presumption. :-)
The question is, how far different?
If it's too far off - from the locale, from the characters' culture - it would feel odd.
And the other thing is that there is narration (telling the reader some of the story by the author), and there is the description of what's going through the character's head. That latter part, I would think, should not be dramatically different in style from the character's direct speech.
But these are just my thoughts. Feel free to disagree, especially if this was a conscious decision and not just a random spike of creativity. ;-)

EthanWarwright
January 27th, 2020, 07:17 PM
I hadn’t really thought about it that way before. I guess I felt if the narrator started using vernacular, it would come off as poorly written. I’ll definitely have to consider changing that outlook.

KHK
January 27th, 2020, 07:19 PM
Thank you very much for the helpful comments. I suppose sometimes I can get a bit too eloquent with my vocabulary when it isn’t appropriate. I’ll look into changing that. You also mentioned numerous punctuation issues. Could you please elaborate and provide a few examples so I understand what you’re referring to? Thanks again.

Here are a couple:


"Tell me about it" Adam could remember the first fight he'd had with his girlfriend vividly.
Missing punctuation at the end of the dialog.


"Calm down will you? Getting all upset isn't going to do any good."
I may be wrong, but I somehow expected to see a comma after "Calm down".
Same with

"Let's talk I guess."

I think I noticed a few more in the first readin, but they don't stand out now.

And, BTW, I picked another inconsistency.
Even though your characters engage in sort of a very colloquial conversation, the grammar of their dialogues is rather normative, on the most part.
But there's one place (at least, the only one I've noticed) where this rule is broken:

"Easy for you to say! You don't got a fucking shard jabbed into your arm!"
This "don't got" there...
If that's the style you want to emulate - by all means, but I'd advocate consistency again. Menaning, it should be the same throughout the text.

KHK
January 27th, 2020, 07:28 PM
I hadn’t really thought about it that way before. I guess I felt if the narrator started using vernacular, it would come off as poorly written. I’ll definitely have to consider changing that outlook.
I am not suggesting vernacular, not at all (or, at least, not necessarily).
All I'm saying is that, if I may take this ad absurdum, describing the experiences of a modern day rural youth in the language of a Victorian-era novella does not strike me as something the readers would simply accept without a very good reason.

EthanWarwright
January 27th, 2020, 07:41 PM
I’ll admit you’re one of the first people to give me these kinds of comments about a story I’ve written. It never occurred to me that my choice of words in narration should probably closely adhere to how my characters speak. I’ll keep that in mind when I decide to make my edits. Thanks!

KHK
January 27th, 2020, 08:00 PM
You're welcome! :-)

Just a word of caution: please do not rush to make any changes quite yet ;-)
Wait for the experienced writers (and, maybe more importantly, native English speakers) to weigh in on the subject.
I may be completely off the mark here. These were just my personal impressions, and they should be treated as such. I don't want your massive (but possibly unnecessary) rework on my conscience! ;-)

EthanWarwright
January 27th, 2020, 08:55 PM
Good point. Never hurts to have a second opinion. Or a third. Or an eighth :icon_cheesygrin:

Solus
February 1st, 2020, 12:57 PM
Personally I'm of the opinion that the narrator and characters go hand in hand. The narrator narrates what the main character sees or experiences (in most cases)
and so you have to think "what is the character experiencing". Internal hemorrhaging might be something a doctor would say, while most others would say internal
bleeding. Some probably wouldn't even know that they had been inflicted such trauma and just remark that there was blood mixed in when they went to the toilet
for some reason. Someone may experience a big and loud man as intimidating, while others see him as friendly.

That's the kind of things I try to think about when narrating; what am I explaining, from whose perspective am I explaining and how are they experiencing what
I'm explaining.


This, however, is only one type of narrating. You can give your narrator a personality of his own or keep him as an entirely objective observer. Or you can make
your own narrator, not abiding to any of these, though that can be really hard to do well. In the end it's up to you Ethan, you have to decide what you want for
your narrator to accomplish.



And KHK has a point when it comes to punctuation, though that is a much trickier subject. There are some rules which I recommend following:


When writing with interrupting text, end your dialogue with a comma and don't start with a capital letter in the second part.

"I don't exactly like it," the big man said "but I don't think we have a choice."


Remember that dialogue is like self contained sentences, and as such they require punctuation even if there is more text after the "" signs.

"I don't like it." the big man said.

Whether you write "The big man" or "the big man" is up to you I believe, but don't quote me on that.



When it comes to commas however, that's another can of worms. Good lord that can be difficult sometimes... My advice is to just use gut feeling, and maybe to look
where other writers have put them and emulating the style you like the most.

Anyways, good luck with writing, it was an interesting read.

Cheers