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Not for critique: share your pretty words. (1 Viewer)

MistWolf

Senior Member
Gotta say, there's some amazing imagery in this thread!

From a little essay I wrote called "The Gravity of Cats"
People complain about their cats being picky eaters. They devise elaborate strategies to get their finicky felines to finish their feast. Our concern is how to drop the bowl without losing a finger. Belle cleans her dish of everything in it, like a little furry vacuum cleaner. Anything that hits the kitchen floor is fair game. Yet she doesn’t grow fat. Even with her Hammer Space stomach, I wonder, where does she put it all…?

…until it comes time to clean the litter box.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
From the first draft of Inception - its a bit rough but I think it has legs:

Mike sighed contentedly as he lay in bed. Pale morning sunlight drifted through the trees outside his La Honda home and slipped through the windows to create a dappled pattern that danced on the thick quilt that covered both him and Mel. Pilot lay curled between them, enjoying their combined warmth. The room was cool, but not unpleasantly so; it was a small space within the tiny two-bedroom home nestled deep in a redwood forest. He inherited the place from his parents, and had restored and upgraded the house but kept its rustic charm and rented it out to city dwellers longing to spend a few days in quiet seclusion.

It was an isolated cabin at the end of a long dirt road; his nearest neighbor was more than a mile away. The electricity came from a gas-powered generator, and the kitchen stove used propane held in a large tank at the side of the house. The only heat was from a firebox in the living room, and outdoor comfort was provided by a free-standing stone fireplace in the backyard.
 

TheManx

Senior Member
Dear Mr. Howard:

Re: Account Number 1884434

I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with the Model X tea kettle that I bought on July 2, 2021, at your store located at 1616 Sixteen Avenue. Though the kettle looks fine, it leaks when filled with water. When I attempted to return it to the store on July 7, 2021, the employee on duty, Roberta Farquharr, told me that she would not accept the item because she could not see any damage.

To resolve the issue, I would like you to refund the full amount that I paid ($29.86, including tax) to my Frequent Customer account. I am enclosing a copy of the original receipt.

I look forward to your reply. Please contact me at the address above or by telephone at (555) 555-5555 within the next two weeks.

Sincerely,

Alfred J. Hossenphepher
 
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indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I wrote this a few years ago and decided to share it - it's from Destination, the last book in my Extinction series. The character is a 200 year old android, that is leaving her home.

Rose stood in the main room of her home and took a long last look around. Memories whispered from every wall and stick of furniture. She wandered by crowded bookcases, occasionally touching the spine of a work that had spoken to her soul. The books couldn’t travel with her, but they would stay with her nonetheless; she recalled every word within their pages, but the exquisite slow pace of reading them, tasting each word and phrase, was where the true pleasure of the story lay.

She thought of her paintings stored in the spare room; they were snapshots of her time in Granby. Lost friends and lovers were trapped within those images; what would they think of her coming adventure? With a sigh, she bid them a gentle goodbye.

Once abandoned, what would become of her home? The books and paintings would grow moldy in the damp environment and over the coming years they would disintegrate; beautiful words and friendly faces would fall to ruin and be lost forever. It felt like giving back somehow. Inspiration for them had been plucked from the ether in hopes of gracing the lives of those that encountered them, perhaps it was time for that spark of creativity to return home.
 

midnightpoet

WF Veterans
From One of my novels:

As I drove west, the sky gradually began to clear, and the sun was bright in my rear view mirror. I passed by a small herd of white-faced Herefords. A giant red bull stood with his front feet on a little knoll, surveying his domain and probably deciding which heifer he wanted to service next. Mom and Dad live on about a hundred twenty acres. He runs a little cattle and has a couple of gas wells on the place.
I pulled into the caliche driveway about five. A plume of white dust, trailing behind the jeep like a parachute slowing the landing of a jet plane, announced my arrival. The house is a wide, two story, ranch type made of native river rock built on top of a small mesquite covered mesa. Two sixty foot tall native pecan trees stand like sentinels on each side of the house. One of them has a limb real close to what used to be my bedroom on the second floor, and many a time I would sneak out of the house that way, shimmying down the tree like a squirrel. One time - I'd just turned sixteen - I did that and "borrowed" Dad's vintage '59 gunmetal Chevy pickup. A couple of us guys drove around the countryside, cutting up and drinking beer. Dad locked us in the jail overnight with a couple of dudes that kept looking at us like we were something to eat. We didn't sleep that night, and I never did anything like that again.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
When Yarrod opened his eyes, he threw open a sluice gate. Light and lurching geometry flooded him and filled him so utterly, he felt as if his skin would split. He gripped the sides of the pallet he lay upon and steadied a spin, braced his limbs against its persistence. The battle lost, he threw himself to the side and let sickness gush from his mouth. He heaved and heaved again, until there was nothing but himself to lose, the inner coils so quietly contained now loud in his throat.
 

seigfried007

Senior Member
Oh grief, this was a thread made for David. I don't even know where to start. My man writes horror with beauty.

I've posted an earlier version of this one here quite awhile ago. This is a flashback to David's early childhood from the "Feeding the Hungry" chapter in the second book of The Lost Boys series WIP:

I opened my eyes and, through the tilted skylight, viewed the downy clouds as they drifted overhead, brilliant silver against the vivid heavens. All life fit in the consecutive rectangular borders of angled window, wooden crib, ivory ceiling, painted walls, and battered floor. With pink fingers, I framed the sky and made it mine. I sifted it with skinny digits and watched the tips glow rose as the radiant sun peered down like the eye of God—not a wrathful God, but God the Father, God the Daddy—blinding in His goodness and purity, yet nurturing and necessary for life itself.

With the sweetest word in all of English, I called for Him.

And He came to me.

His nude body splattered with the prismatic blood of all creation, He rested His lovely fingers on the edge of the world and smiled down on me from beneath His burnished heavens. With His black hair hanging lank and limned in gold corona, He leaned over reality’s rim, and across His pearl skin, argent scars shimmered in sunlight. His azure gaze shone forth from the violet halos of His insomnia, for all the universe He unendingly watched. God the Father never slept, yet ever dreamt and ever wept, burdened as He was by a boundless love for all He had brought into being.

“Yes, love?”

My Father God only spoke in soothing music, for in Him all arts were found, and from Him all arts came.

Having glimpsed the truth behind His nature, I rolled onto my knees and reached for God, my Father. I could not stand, and yet He lifted me from the prison of my crib. He set me on His hip and changed my soiled clothes; He carried me to His cluttered table and fed me as I sat upon His naked lap… because He was God, and God was love.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
This is a bit long, but I'm pleased with it. The excerpt is from Redemption - which is set to be published the first week of August.
The pov is of the FMC - she's an adulteress and her husband confronted her and said he was moving out. She fell asleep on the sofa waiting for him to leave.

It was still dark outside when she awoke on the sofa; her shoes were on the floor and her outfit was in disarray. The apartment was silent. If Jose had already left, she had missed whatever theatrics he might have put on, which was a good thing. Maybe he was still in his room though.

The white tile floor was cold on her bare feet as she crept toward his bedroom door. It was slightly ajar; she moved closer and gently pushed it further open. At first, the room seemed orderly, but as she entered there were signs of destruction. Pictures of them together were taken from their frames, ripped to pieces, and littered the floor.

Jose’s tantrum brought a smile to her lips, and she began searching to see if he left anything else behind. The bureau was empty save for the bottom right drawer, and what she found there unexpectedly brought pain. Her grin faded as her stomach tightened with an unknown emotion as she lifted their wedding album and held it close to her breast.

She stepped backward and sat on the bed, staring at the book of old photos. Looking inside it would be a bad idea, but it was already open and she was turning pages. What she saw was a past that should have been her future.

In the pictures, Jose was overjoyed. He held her gently… protectively. There was so much love in his expression. He would have kept her safe, his job was good and secure; he was the best programmer and hacker in the IT department.

In contrast, she looked predatory and mean; her eyes were cold and her smile false. She had married him because he could get her a job in the CSL Surveillance Group. There was no love, the woman in the pictures was incapable of feeling that emotion. Within three months she would begin sleeping with coworkers; first with her immediate managers, then finally latching onto Anton.

What had she done? Her husband… ex-husband, Jose was a caring man that genuinely loved her; they could have lived a wonderful life together. She had destroyed not only a good man, but also any chance she might have had for a decent respectable life.

She was broken and would continue to destroy those around her until she finally found a way to fix herself and become a better person.
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
From the cut folder:

He was glad of the silence because there was little left to discuss, the points familiar and practiced in the weeks prior, lines worn deep as wheel ruts after a summer rain. They knew the words and the shape of things as they were and would be for the foreseen future, and somehow each yet found a way to touch on familiar uncertainties and work them anew.

Instead he looked to the stars and enjoyed the feel of the girl beside him and wondered. Too soon this would pass. The life behind him at its end, the one come to replace it not properly begun, he drifted between the last sure thing and what waited behind the sunrise.

Ladrada, who once owned the road they trod and now managed his ancestral homestead for her family, explained it best: a man reached his adult years bearing the worthwhile remnants of childhood and the clothes on his back and at the turning looked out on the world, master of none but fortunate for the limitless decisions unmade before him, and so for a little while could run and live cheaply and mark himself free. But the freedom of youth was a siren call if a man held any aspiration at all, and his last consolation was to plot the first steps of his adult years. To choose his bearings and eschew other possibility.

They crossed the bars of a cattle guard mostly filled in and to a bent iron gate rusted open, hanging in a short stone wall scaffolded with weeds and climbing vines. Around the house drifted the low tones of a guitar strung together not as music but as notes drawn from nothing and just as quick abandoned. At the gate she parted wordless and went up the back steps. He lingered, then went after.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
From the cut folder:

He was glad of the silence because there was little left to discuss, the points familiar and practiced in the weeks prior, lines worn deep as wheel ruts after a summer rain. They knew the words and the shape of things as they were and would be for the foreseen future, and somehow each yet found a way to touch on familiar uncertainties and work them anew.

Instead he looked to the stars and enjoyed the feel of the girl beside him and wondered. Too soon this would pass. The life behind him at its end, the one come to replace it not properly begun, he drifted between the last sure thing and what waited behind the sunrise.

Ladrada, who once owned the road they trod and now managed his ancestral homestead for her family, explained it best: a man reached his adult years bearing the worthwhile remnants of childhood and the clothes on his back and at the turning looked out on the world, master of none but fortunate for the limitless decisions unmade before him, and so for a little while could run and live cheaply and mark himself free. But the freedom of youth was a siren call if a man held any aspiration at all, and his last consolation was to plot the first steps of his adult years. To choose his bearings and eschew other possibility.

They crossed the bars of a cattle guard mostly filled in and to a bent iron gate rusted open, hanging in a short stone wall scaffolded with weeds and climbing vines. Around the house drifted the low tones of a guitar strung together not as music but as notes drawn from nothing and just as quick abandoned. At the gate she parted wordless and went up the back steps. He lingered, then went after.
Beautiful imagery.
 

TheManx

Senior Member
Mitzi stared into her banana pudding as if divining the future.

“What’s to become of me?” she exclaimed, her words bouncing off the cracked terrazzo like so many ping pong balls.

Chummy, her trained Norwegian cockatiel, seemed to squawk in agreement.

The pudding had been a congratulatory gift from Ralph, her fiancé, in recognition of her graduating from Miss Comstock’s School of Etiquette and Self-Defense.

She dropped her spoon and it fell through the viscous desert, hitting the bowl with a resounding kerplink that mimicked her dissatisfaction.

She looked at her hand, at the ethically sourced aluminum foil engagement ring that Ralph had so cleverly hidden in the glass where she kept her prosthetic incisors overnight.

How was she going to tell him she had fallen for another—Bob—the town’s happy-go-lucky forensic pathologist and part time croquet instructor?

She wondered.

Meanwhile, Ralph, at his chinchilla ranch in far off Saskatoon, dreamed of the day he would be reunited with his beloved Mitzi.

He would make her gloriously happy! The chinchilla season had been unusually lucrative, and he was in the midst of building her a fine new home, with wall-to-wall carpet, an advanced intercom system, and a refrigerator in every room.

He smiled to himself and let out a sigh of contentment. Little did he know of the disappointment and senseless slaughter that lay ahead.
 
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Riptide

WF Veterans
Tried to do the whole... don't say what your characters are actually angry about, but instead talk around it. I think it went pretty well, but who knows
---

“We defeated the ogre and what thanks do we get?” Kyra grunted, a load of dirt hefted and piled beside her. She drove the shovel again into the guild’s cemetery grounds right outside the garden that barriered the guild from the forest. “Nothing! My mom comes to town and our thanks goes right out the window.”

Gage took a break, sipping water from a leather handbag pouch. “That ogre killed at least ten crew members, don’t know how many townsfolks, and we go in, risk our lives, and they’re not even feasting for us.”

Kyra grumbled incoherently, stacking heaps of dirt around her as the slight grave became deeper and deeper.

He sprinkled some water over her, watching the droplets singe when they contacted her feverish skin. “And bringing Sydney of all people?”

Her shovel handle splintered in her hold and ricocheted off her flesh. “Do you see how they dote on her? On my own mother? I’ve never seen them so enthralled.” She kept using the shovel, though, holding it by slivers of wood.

“Didn’t you teach Sydney how to properly hold a broad sword? And bows! Don’t get me started at how horrendous she was with bows!”

“Shut up about Sydney!” She threw the shredded pieces of wood and spade out of the hole. “Help me place Alfred.” Hoisting herself over the now sizable pit, she focused on the lines of dirt stains on her hands. Someone once told her the grooves foretold a person’s fate. Hers were deep, like scars, and rugged from whirling swords and climbing rocks. She had a strong grip. It probably meant she would live a long time, but she wasn’t a seer able to piece the future together, so maybe she'd die tomorrow.

As she picked up Alfred’s shoulders, staring down the gaping hole, she almost let him go. “I didn’t even know him well.”

“We are not in the business of knowing people.” They lowered him gently halfway but had to drop him to get him to the bottom. She tried to aim his head looking up when she let it go in the grave, but it turned to the side. Thankfully, he didn’t have any eyes to see with. “Want to say a few words?” Gage said. “Before we bury him for good?”

“I don’t know what I would say.” She turned from the hole to the mess hall. They opened the vents to the kitchen, allowing the smoke to form gray storm clouds in the sky that disappeared with the next gust. “Cover him up.”
 

seigfried007

Senior Member
Mentioned David's descriptive tendencies, so here's some highly literary, florid horror:


I was at the end of the hall, and there were no more doors except the last, and it was locked, too. Unlike the others, this room was mute.

I lay on the floor to peek through the gap… a delicate, silver skeleton key lay in the grass on the other side. I slid my hand under the door, pushing through the verdant carpet and loam until I reached the key, but as I did so, the sounds of bubbling fluid, creaking springs, and groaning people emanated from within the room, along with the smell of sweat and a clinging, pungent smoke.

The key slid in so easily and turned so smoothly that I might have sworn it was magnetized to the lubricated lock in the door, which swung open as if greased. Once the door closed softly of its own will behind me, I knew few rooms could be harder to leave; it was simply too easily entered and far too seductive to strangers.

Inside, I saw a darkened forest of oversized plants and fungi. On the other side of this crowded expanse, and upon the largest of these vivid toadstools, a creature like a massive blue caterpillar squirmed and sucked on the plastic tubes which punctured its pulsating form. Pushing fronds aside as required, I forced a path through the foliage, and as I neared the creature, I noticed the ground was increasingly littered with cigarette butts, needles, spoons, used condoms, rubber tourniquets, and empty amber bottles of pills. The murmur of voluminous bubbles through some vat of viscous liquid and the moaning atop that toadstool grew louder with every step I took.

As I parted the last of plants from my path and entered the clearing surrounding that fungus, I realized my error, for this mushroom was a bed, and the caterpillar was a larval misery—one being formed of many, twisted together and writhing under tangled blue satin sheets, a line of would-be lovers sullenly seeking comfort from this insult to intimacy.

Under the whispers of the breeze, with voices as soft as the sighs of the dying because they no longer hoped that someone else might help or answer, I heard them ask themselves, “Who am I? How did I come to this? Why can’t I stop?”

From the giant, violet hookah at the side of their fungal pallet, a myriad of plastic tubes pumped these woeful creatures full of smoke, even as syringes stabbed them through the flimsy fabric barrier. Beneath the shifting sheets, opal milk oozed over their bruised skin, filthy feathers and bleeding knees.

With grasping, gnarled, bony hands, they pulled pieces from their mushroom mattress, saying, “This will make me so small that my troubles will not see me” and “With this bite, I will grow so large that my troubles will not dare to find me.”

Yet as I watched, their sizes remained the same, though they seemed not to realize this, lost as they were in the romance of this fleeting, ineffectual escape.

After all had eaten, a wind ripped through the branches above and tore the sheets from their hollow forms. They turned their sunken, weeping eyes toward the dull, drugged sun and flapped their shattered, boneless wings but could not ascend to heaven, for they were grounded by their highs.

The futility of hope cast their eyes in blackened orbits down. Instead of mending what they might, they bent once more to the mushroom, and, with fingers flayed, they gathered its flesh and swallowed the pieces down.

Amongst their naked number, I spied the pink-winged fiend I’d sought, but as I laid eyes upon him, the mewling group turned toward me. Hiding their shame behind the sheets, they buried in drugs their despondency, saying, “Do not judge us, for we’re in pain—a pain so deep you cannot plumb it, cannot know it, cannot numb it!”

Even knowing I had not damned them—that they had damned themselves—I felt nothing but pity for these hopeless, helpless creatures with faces like battered angels and wings like broken birds.

But then I realized that the one I was after had slipped unseen from the fungus and fled through the foliage behind. Following the waving fronds in his wake and the trail of milky tears he’d left, I raced after him.
 

TheManx

Senior Member
Language warning:

Mitch shut off his truck and looked at his tiny clapboard house—his fucking castle. From next door, he heard rap music. Not fucking music at all, he mumbled. He took his tools from the truck and hauled them up to the back door into his kitchen. Time was, he could have left them in the lock box in his truck bed, but no more.

He shuffled through his fake wood-paneled den and fell into a plaid Barcalounger before grabbing the bottle of cheap scotch he kept by his chair. He poured a stiff drink into a dirty tumbler and gulped it down.

He’d lost a contract that day to a minority owned company—a women no less—who’d probably never lifted a fucking hammer in her life. As the buzz kicked in, he fumbled for the remote and aimed it at the TV, punching through the channels—an insurance and a cereal commercial. A sitcom of some kind. But where were the white faces? Where the fuck was he?

He remembered coming home from school and watching reruns of Leave it Beaver and The Brady Bunch. Even though he knew his life wasn’t anything like what he saw on TV, it gave him hope. This had to be the real America and maybe someday his reality—if he worked hard enough. They never talked about God, but surely He was behind all this prosperity and happiness—this American Dream.

But he’d stopped praying long ago. What was the use? The world had passed him by—his values, all his hard work, it amounted to nothing. He along with so many just like himself were on the long slope toward irrelevance. Forgoing the tumbler, he picked up the bottle and gulped down as much as he could stand without gagging.

Grunting and sighing, he got up from his easy chair and stumbled to the bedroom. He opened the drawer in the nightstand next his bed. He couldn’t breathe—and he thought his ribs might crack or his heart might explode. It was all so heavy. Everything. The failure. The loneliness. The gun.

He asked for forgiveness.
 
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indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Language warning:

Mitch shut off his truck and looked at his tiny clapboard house—his fucking castle. Coming from next door, he heard rap music. Not fucking music at all, he mumbled. He took his tools from the truck and hauled them up to the back door into his kitchen. Time was, he could have left them in the lock box in his truck bed, but no more.

He shuffled through his fake wood paneled den and fell into a plaid Barcalounger before grabbing the bottle of cheap scotch he kept by his chair. He poured a stiff drink into a dirty tumbler and gulped it down.

He’d lost a contract that day to a minority owned company—a women no less—who’d probably never lifted a fucking hammer in her life. As the buzz kicked in, he fumbled for the remote and aimed it at the TV, punching through the channels—an insurance and a cereal commercial. A sitcom of some kind. But where were the white faces? Where the fuck was he?

He remembered coming home from school and watching reruns of Leave it Beaver and The Brady Bunch. Even though he knew his life wasn’t anything like what he saw on TV, it gave him hope. This had to be the real America and maybe someday his reality—if he worked hard enough. They never talked about God, but surely He was behind all this prosperity and happiness—this American Dream.

But he’d stopped praying long ago. What was the use? The world had passed him by—his values, all his hard work, it amounted to nothing. He along with so many just like himself were on the long slope toward irrelevance. Forgoing the tumbler, he picked up the bottle and gulped down as much as he could stand without gagging.

Grunting and sighing, he got up from his easy chair and stumbled to the bedroom. He opened the drawer in the nightstand next his bed. He couldn’t breathe—and he thought his ribs might crack or his heart might explode. It was all so heavy. Everything. The failure. The loneliness. The gun.

He asked for forgiveness.
Powerful.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
A willowy youth strolls towards me, face ashen, eyes unseeing. There is no joy in his gait, just a stumbling forward momentum that speaks volumes of the autopilot sat uncomfortably in his head. His words are hidden behind thin, dried lips, and even though I tempt them with a nod of recognition, they are prisoners of his tongue.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
He turned to look behind at the infinite empty. Wind sculpted breakers from the desert wasteland, held them fast for what seemed eternity, but Yarrod knew, given time, their granular motion would carry him and the day away, lost evermore and sucked beneath the silent, smothering sea, to become just another remnant in the bone collector’s garden.
 
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vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
Just then Garsch came in, early, and closed the door behind him. The man didn't limp, or waddle, or hobble. No distinctive hitch marred his steps, yet he still somehow gave the impression that every foot placed down bore an imposition on his disposition. He pulled back the closest chair at the conference table, flopped into it, then leaned back and rested his feet on it in a motion belying the impression his gait sold to an observer. The result was a distracting balancing act. He looked as if he might tumble backwards at any moment.
 
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