03-01-2010 07:43 PM
Hello, thank you for reading my story. The title is up for debate, (The Roar of the Rain/A Moonlit Murder) so please tell me which you like better or if you have any new suggestions. This is the prologue of my story, a detective novel that takes place in 19th century London. Please comment and tell me what you think; be as honest as possible. Thanks again!
The night was so black you could taste the darkness as it hung in the air, like a dead criminal swaying limply after a hanging.
A shaky, nervous old man broke through the pitch-black mist, a small gas lamp beacon dimly directing his path. He was dressed in a long black suit, as dark as a raven's underbelly, his coattails flapping tenderly in the chilling wind. He wore a tall, black stovetop hat, perched on his head like a vulture keeping a wary eye on its prey. His face was old and sallow, creased and weathered with experience. His hair was grey and stained with age.
He paused, panting and dabbing his forehead with a shaky handkerchief as he peered over his shoulder cautiously. A whimper broke free of his tight lips. He had barely made it out of there alive. He peered at the tall, stone canyons of nineteenth century London surrounding him. He thought the city walls would feel safer. They didn't.
The deserted streets shone with the gloss of the days rain. The man continued at a quickened pace, stepping into a puddle and shivering as the cold plagued his already frigid skin.
A howl pierced the air like a knife sinking into skin. The man gasped. They were looking for him, and they would find him.
The man ran, desperately and hopelessly, down the slick streets, tripping over the uneven brick road. The rain started to pick up again, first a sprinkle, then progressing to a heavy downpour. The rain made it impossible to see, and he ran blindly into the town square. He stumbled dumbly through the square, tripping over the fountain's edge that stood ornately in the square's center. The water swallowed him up like Hell welcoming a sinner. He resurfaced after a quick moment, gasping anxiously for breath. The near-frozen water licked his skin and sent him into a violent convulsion.
He gripped the fountain's edge and hoisted himself over, falling awkwardly on the hard brick ground. He stood up gingerly, attempting to sprint for his life while it was still in his possession.
Another howl rang through the closing distance, but was drowned out by a deafening roll of thunder. The man pulled himself off the wet ground and set into a desperate run. His frozen body protested and he fell flat, scraping his alms and knees.
He lay there shaking with cold and fear, the last of his energy draining along with the blood from his scrapes.
A third howl sounded, just out of reach. They were coming, rapidly, thirsting for his life. The rain stung his wounds.
This is the end he thought, as his eyelids drooped over his eyes, like an old, moth-eaten curtain closing over a stage. A streak of lightning flung itself to the ground somewhere inside the city, lighting up the sky and paralyzing his eardrums.
A final howl skewered the air from inside the square. Someone shouted something like, "There he is!"
A moment of hesitation, the only thing he heard was the roar of the rain as the heavens sobbed upon the earth.
Rough, calloused hands gripped the man's collar and yanked him from the ground, and flung him into the stone wall across the square. The wall crushed his ribs, leaving him breathless and struggling to fill his lungs in a crumpled heap on the wet ground. His eyes fluttered open, searching for the patronizing hands. The pouring rain mixed with his already blurry vision. He could barely make out several shadowy figures standing close by.
Another flash of lightning lit up the sky. Standing in a rough semicircle around the man's mangled body were about twelve wolves and one man. The wolves ranged in color from grey to brown to black. Their fur clung to their defined, muscular bodies in sopping strands. Their yellow teeth were bared, their ears back, and the hackles on their necks stood straight.
The man was fairy young, tall, and dark-haired. He stood naked, in a menacing crouch that could only mean death was near.
Their eyes were filled with hunger and brimming with hate.
The crouching man stood up straight and casually walked over to the dying heap on the ground. He pulled him up into a sitting position, leaning him against the wall. He rested his arm on his shoulder.
"Tobias, Tobias." The man raised his voice over the roar of the rain, shaking his head. His wet hair hung over his frightening yellow eyes. Tobias' eyes filled with fear as the man's cold, raspy voice spat his name.
"Did you really think you could outrun us? No one ever has, but many have attempted the vain act." His lips curled into a sickening grin. His teeth were yellow and sharp as knives.
"No one gets away with cheating us, and you are no exception." One of the wolves leaped forward and growled impatiently, lurching towards Tobias. The naked man whipped his head around. "Patience!" He growled back "We will have him soon enough!" The man turned back toward Tobias, staring expectantly at him, waiting for a few last words. His lungs were still paralyzed. Tobias opened his mouth, his lips desperately forming silent, helpless pleas. He gasped and shivered. The man's grip on Tobias' shoulder tightened, crushing his shoulder. Tobias couldn't scream.
"It's a shame, Tobias. Your knowledge would have been very helpful to us. But no matter," He reached into Tobias' pocket and withdrew a small, rusted key "This will be." Tobias gasped and mouth more useless pleadings, but his voice was lost. He shook his head vigorously, ignoring the stabbing pain in his spine.
The man grinned sadistically, satisfied at the pathetic old man's pain.
"Goodbye, Tobias" The man said, standing up. His naked body gleamed in the rain, and he looked to the moon as his whole body shook. A scream tore from its way free, as lightning and thunder shattered the sky, and the man burst, with the sound of a gunshot, into a sleek, black wolf. His hungry, murderous eyes rested on Tobias, and held his gaze as a series of angry snarls ripped from his throat. He crouched, ready to spring, his eyes filled with such fearful ferocity that Tobias was paralyzed from fear, not from pain.
The wolves sprung, their ravenous howls drowned by the thunder and roar of the rain.
03-01-2010 11:21 PM
I like your attention to detail. It really makes you feel like you're watching it happen instead of just reading it. The only thing I would say or suggest would be to be careful not to put so much detail on things that are not important to the story. The reader may get lost in the details or could make the story drag out.
I like The Roar of the Rain, but you know, it really depends on where you want to go with the story. A Moonlit Murder may make more sense if you stay on track with your prologue.
Good luck. Can't wait to read more.
03-02-2010 07:08 PM
Thank you so much! I will take your suggestions and use them. I submitted this story into my high school literary magazine. I will try to post more; my computer's kind of messed up. . .
03-03-2010 10:16 AM
I really enjoyed this. The story flowed well. You can tell you either have some natural talent, or you read a lot (or both). As I was reading it, however, I felt like I was reading a list. The reason for this is the sentence structure. If you go back and look at your sentences, you'll see they're all essentially the same. "The man did this..." "Tobias did this..." The door did this..." If you switch up the structure, your story will have a lot more pop, breaking up all that detail. Here's an example of one of your sentences:
"The crouching man stood up straight and casually walked over to the dying heap on the ground."
here are a few options for the same thing:
"Standing up straight, he casually walked over to the dying heap on the ground."
"In a flash, the feral visage was standing over Tobias' dying heap.
These are things you can do after you bang out a story though. Personally, this is my favorite part of writing. Once the story is done, you can go back and play with the finer points, making every word count.
Very nice though. You definitely have talent!
03-03-2010 12:14 PM
Excellent use of imagery to set the tone. You do this from the very start with the description of the man in a “black suit, as dark as a raven’s underbelly” in the “chilling wind.” Well done! Look for places where you’ve used words that “tell” instead of “show.” For example, you describe him as running “desperately and hopelessly.” What is it about the way he’s running that leads to this conclusion? Show that. The fact that he trips over the uneven bricks in the road might be enough to give the reader the idea of his desperation. This is a promising start.
As far as the title, they both have a nice ring with the alliteration. Like Kat-NE mentions, it really depends on the whole story. You might choose one as a working title and make a decision—between these two or another title entirely—when you have finished.
03-05-2010 07:10 PM
Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! This is the first this I've ever written, so i really appreciate everyone's suggestions that help me for the better. I find writing extremely enjoyable. I've written about 20 pages or so, I'll try to type them up when I get the chance (I usually write in math class . So far here's the basic rundown of the story: Tobias' key opens the vault that holds the key to the gates of hell (or actually is the key to hell, i haven't decided yet). The werewolves want to attain the key and release demons and such, so they kill Tobias and get the key for themselves, while a detective (Inspector Jasper Florek) is hunting them down and trying to prevent it. That was an extremely rough synopsis, hopefully you'll get to read more!
Thank you everyone!