(January 9th, 2003, 11:41 pm)
Hi everyone. I recently added another story to www.deviantart.com/deviation/1103439, and after mixed reviews decided to totally revamp it. I hope this one is more to everyone's liking. I love constructive criticism, so if you have any suggestions, please give 'em to me.
Hi. My name is Sam. It’s a perfectly average name, but I’m rather fond of it. Keeping everything hidden for so long has really taxed me out. So here we go – it’s time for a catharsis. I’m writing my autobiography. It’s not really meant for anyone to read, it’s just for my own sake. Hopefully by writing everything down, it’ll help keep me sane.
It all started out innocently enough. There was no sign of the darkness that would eventually plague the rest of my life. Even though it began twenty-two years ago, I still remember it all like it was yesterday. What happened when I turned six made me start to realize just how different I was from everyone else.
“Happy Birthday!” my parents yelled as they gave me my first real bicycle. It was blue with a black seat, and it was perfect. “My own bike,” I thought. “Wow!” All my friends had bikes, so I was well aware what I was missing by not having one.
“Take it for a ride,” my mom urged, “but be back before supper!”
“Thanks, I love you, bye!” I exclaimed exuberantly as I pedaled down the street.
Here I was. Free. I could go anywhere, do anything. I had the power of mobility, and I was six years old. I had to show it off. The whole town had to know about my new bike, but they could wait until I had tested it out a bit. I decided to head out along one of the lesser traveled roads leading out into the country.
The road had been recently paved, and the sharp smell of tarmac still filled the air. I’d been down the road before – when it was still gravel – walking with my friends. There was a swimming hole we liked not too far down it. When we were feeling particularly brave, we sometimes ventured even farther down the road, toward the forest. A darker and drearier place I’d never seen before, and we kids never had to guts to go further in then just the edge. We knew there was something about that forest, something different – not necessarily evil – just different. But on my bike, I was invincible. Nothing and no one could ever catch up to me.
After a while of traveling a bit further into the depths of the wilderness, the pavement ended, changing back into gravel. Monstrous trucks were lined up by the side of the road, waiting for the dawn of the next day to finish their appointed tasks. Even the thought of climbing into their cabs and playing with the gears didn’t stop me in my euphoria. My bike was my world at that moment.
I left the pavement and continued along the gravel. Under the canopy of trees, time and distance had no meaning, and I still don’t know how long I traveled.
Mesmerized by the patterns of light trickling through the leaves, and blissfully pedaling along, I wasn’t paying the road the proper attention. My front tire hit a loose rock in the road, and slipped to the right. The rest of the bike followed along, and I slid across the pavement. Pain exploded all along the side of my body that came in contact with the unforgiving gravel. I tried to stand up. No luck. With a whimper I gave up on moving; my arm and leg didn’t seem to be functioning very well. Not having anything else to do, I stayed put. My parents would come looking for me soon, after I missed supper. They had to. I began to wish I had told someone where I was going.
After a few moments, the pain started to dull, and my mind began to work. I remembered with a start just where I was. Shortly after this revelation, I started hearing things, little noises in the quickly approaching night. I grew terrified, and due to my injuries, could not move at all. I was trapped, hunted, and what was after me were the stories told in the dark with my friends, each one flashing through my mind, renewing my horror with every sound that flew at me from every direction.
The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Something was watching me. I couldn’t say how it was I knew this; I just did.
Slowly, I began to look around. Nothing. I was alone so far as I could tell. The feeling remained. It would not go away. Something was out there, but where?
I strained my ears, listening as hard as I could. From my right, I caught a whisper of leaves. I looked that way, but it was gone. Another rustle, but this time from somewhere on my left. I quickly turned my head toward the sound, but again, there was nothing there.
My heart began to pound even faster than it already was; its throbbing filled my ears with a steady lub dub. So, I did the thing any other six-year-old would do in my position. I began to cry, softly at first, then with more enthusiasm. Bawling my eyes out, I wished again that my parents would show up.
“Nothing here,” I whispered to myself, “I’m all alone.”
My attempts at deluding myself were in vain. I knew better. The raised hairs on my neck were proof of that.
Clop, clop. Clop, clop.
There. Something. I heard it. “Hello,” I ventured, struggling to remove any trace of my tears.
Clop, clop. Clop, clop.
“Is there anyone out there?” It sounded like a horse. But why is there a horse out here? There was only one horse in town, and it never left its pasture.
“Shh, little one. Do not be scared.”
Oh yeah, right. That really made me feel good. I wet my pants.
“Oh dear,” came a different voice, “It wet itself.”
“Do not look at me to clean it up,” said another.
“Aww, look, it is hurt,” said the second voice again, “we have got to help it.”
“Oh no, no way,” the third stated, “it will be way too much trouble.”
Then I saw them.
I wished I hadn’t.
One had the legs and body of a horse, and attached to the front was a man’s body, from the waist up. On his back was perched what could only be a fairy. She had wings and was about as big as me. Behind her rode a creature with the lower half of a goat, and the upper half of a hairy man, with horns.
“Oh, please!” said the fairy, which I now recognized as the second voice. “If we do not, it might die.”
“We will help it. This one is special, “ ruled the horse-man. “What is your name, little one?”
“S-S-Sam,” I stammered, “Sam.”
“Beatrice?” The horse-man said, to which the fairy’s ears perked up. “Help Sam.”
“Gladly.” The little fairy jumped off the centaur’s back, and used her gossamer wings to land gently by my side. “What happened to you?” she asked.
“I fell off my bike. My arm and leg hurt, and I can’t stand up.”
“Bike?” she questioned. I pointed to it. “I take it that it is a transportation device?” I nodded.
She reached into a little pouch by her side and said, “Do you believe in magic?” I said that I did. She smirked and pulled out a handful of glittering powder, which she thrust into my mouth. “Swallow!” she ordered.
Not having any choice in this matter, I did. A little tingle started in my throat, moved into my torso, and then into each of my limbs. Every hair on my body stood straight on end. Then, fire. I was in agony. I screamed a piercing scream, tearing my vocal cords to shreds. The fire receded, only to be replaced with ice. My lips turned blue, and I was shivering horribly. I couldn’t move my fingers, and I was sure my toes had fallen off.
Without warning, it was gone, totally gone. Nothing was left but the memory of my torture.
The goat-man was grinning at me from ear to ear. I could tell he had really enjoyed the show.
“Try your leg now,” the fairy suggested, so I did. It worked. I felt great. “Wow,” I thought, “this is wonderful.” I pushed my bike off of me, and bent down to see if it was alright. It was fine, for all the suffering it had caused me. Remembering my manners, I turned to thank the group.
Nothing was there.
Startled and still scared, I got on my bike and raced home, vowing never to tell my parents of what happened.
(January 10th, 2003, 5:47 am)
It's cool, but dunno, it still seems to be missing something. In parts, I feel for the character; in parts, I don't. Jeez, I wish I could help, but people have been telling me just the same things about one of my stories, so I'm hardly the one to give tips on that. =)
Other things though: What is the mood you're trying for in the intro? It wavers between ominous and casual, and the two don't mix ;)
Also, the paragraph when he hits the rock and falls... It doesn't read natural. "...I wasn’t paying the road the proper attention. I hit a rock with my front tire. The wheel slipped to the right, and I fell over to my left." All very straightforward, very bland. It needs to have more feeling into it.
And "A dark spot began to spread on my pants"? I liked the way it was before, and after all, this is first person. "I wet my pants." Simple. Direct. :D
One last thing: it's spelt "pedalled", unless you've got a six-year-old peddling drugs to hippies =)
(January 10th, 2003, 12:54 pm)
It is definately an improvement (though I agree with Narain on the pant-wetting thing :P) - there is a much better feel for the character this time round.
Again, as Narain said, however, the atmosphere slips into more casual than tense - the fairy saying "okay, let's fix you up" springs to mind...that's way to casual and slang-y for fairy who doesn't know what a bike is...and it does detract from your otherwise well-crafted mood.
But yes, definately improving, and nice to see you here again :P
(January 10th, 2003, 1:55 pm)
Ok, I reworked the bike hitting the rock section, and he has now wet himself again. =) The fairy doesn't use slang anymore (and notice, none of the mystical creatures use contractions, though this has always been the case...)
The tone of this story is pretty hard to get across. This is the first part of what I hope to be several, and it gets significantly darker in the next story. You're right, the first story is a lighter one, but I wanted to foreshadow the darkness that was to come.
(January 10th, 2003, 2:07 pm)
Yup, those little changes help a lot.
(January 11th, 2003, 4:01 pm)
I found some you missed:
Don’t look at me toand
Aww, it’s hurt too.
My interest is piqued, but... I can't say that I'm involved in it enough yet to form an opinion of it.
(January 12th, 2003, 6:58 pm)
they love to sneak in and hide themselves
(January 14th, 2003, 2:44 pm)
I wrote a long comment and transference ate it. damn!!!!!!
in short!(even blunter than i wanted)
there's no ending. what happens? where's the change in the character?
you need to build more atmosphere. instead on focusing on the giving of the bike, cut it right to the chase, take us to the forest, explain why it's so frightening, describe the creatures in greater detail, make them mythical and strange, don't rush them.
I have a problem with the old journal type of style in the beginning(Lovercraft or Bram Stoker kind) "There was no sign of the darkness that would eventually plague the rest of my life. Even though it began twenty-two years ago, I still remember it all like it was yesterday." and this is strictly a personal opinion. it gives too much away and makes the writer seem rookie technique wise.
sorry for the extreme bluntness, i don't really have that much time available, to type it as it was.
(January 14th, 2003, 9:32 pm)
I forgive ya, Siedhr =)
Ok, one theme that seems to be sticking out in everyone's comments is not really feeling for the character. It looks like I'm going to have to read and re-read this story to try and figure out just where it goes wrong. Part of the problem probably comes from me trying to remember what life was like at 6 (I'm 24.) Maybe some of the things I thought would be important (like the bike...) wouldn't be that important to a six year old.
Also, Siedhr, thanks for your ending comment. You are right, I hint at him realizing how special he was because of this incident, but never really say more about it. I'll be thinking more about this as time permits.
Thanks again, everyone, for your comments.
(January 18th, 2003, 12:44 pm)
One out of many, but it may be because you're using the words and grammar of an adult to carry the childs experience, thoughts and dialogues/monologues.
If you look at the following sentence:
While the latter part can be passed off as it's an adult who tells/writes it the first part is lacking, sounds more like a teenager going to a party or to "hang with the gang"...
How this can be rectified I don't know, not much of a writer I'm afraid: I just know what I like to read. ;-)
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