Shadows - First Chapter (Revised)

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JadePhoenix
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Shadows - First Chapter (Revised)

Post by JadePhoenix » August 29th, 2010, 10:27 pm

*All right, I finished the first chapter and added it as a new post. You'll notice the page here appears nowhere in it. In doing some further research and reflection I realized the page, and much of what came after, could be removed and it wouldn't change anything. In other words, it was the start of my book but wasn't the start of my story (if that makes any sense!). The chapter now IS the start of my story, everything that happens, happens because of or builds off of the events of this chapter. I just hope it's good!
Anyway, due to the fact that it's an entire chapter I obviously don't expect anyone to give a line by line read of it. Rather I'd just like if anyone could give it a glance through and give me your thoughts on my characters, any huge glaring problems you see, etc. Thank you in advance! :)


This is my first book, and THIS is the revision that I'm still working on. I had it completed, and sent it out and, while I was getting positive responses all the agents were telling me the same things were wrong. SO, I sat down and revised, revised, revised, and now this is the, hopefully, better result! :) Thank you in advance for feedback!

Formatting is kind of funky here - in my file it's double spaced, indented five spaces for each paragraph, and one space after each period.


CHAPTER ONE

The sound of crunching leaves sent Aaron Knight into a crouch behind a tree, a rush of
adrenaline chasing away the morning chill. Rough bark dug into his back, but he ignored the
discomfort and held still. Tightening his grip on the rifle, Aaron took a deep breath and closed his
eyes.

“Please don’t be another werewolf. Please don’t be another werewolf.”

The almost-healed wound in his side gave a phantom throb in response, and Aaron’s heart rate
picked up. Continuing to repeat the litany under his breath, the seventeen-year-old rolled his body
to the side just enough to allow him to see past the trunk into the clearing.

The rip was at the far end, a swirling blue-black and crimson vortex allowing other worlds to
bleed in where they didn’t belong. Tracks led from the base, but he didn’t see anything in the
vicinity.

The walkie-talkie at his hip squawked, and a startled, inhuman snort sounded from Aaron’s left.
He cursed under his breath; grabbing the device and turning it down before it gave away his
position or, worse, scared the target.

A shadow moved, and Aaron’s eyes focused on a deer grazing just inside the tree line. The
animal was deep ebony, and blended into the shadows under the canopy as it cropped at grass and
leaves underfoot.

Aaron reached down, scooped up some of the twigs and small pebbles littering the forest floor,
and tossed them deeper into the woods. The creature startled and slim, onyx wings fluttered briefly
before settling.
Last edited by JadePhoenix on September 13th, 2010, 1:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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D.S. Deshaw
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Re: Shadows - First Page

Post by D.S. Deshaw » August 30th, 2010, 3:07 am

Hi! This is really good! I want to read more, even if it has werewolves, so good job! I also want to say congratulations for surviving your first round of querying. At least you got feedback and it's great that you're taking what they've said and revised. I just have a few comments.

- When you said 'rough bark dug into his back' I was confused immediately. I thought perhaps he had ended up on his back on some bark on the ground. I realized after a few reads you had meant his back was pressed up against the tree. You might want to try making that a bit clearer.

- It felt weird for him to be saying anything out loud if he was hiding.

- 'Almost-healed wound' felt awkward. His 'healing wound' might be better.

- His heart rate picked up with the adrenalin. Why would it be picking up again? Find another way to show he was nervous/scared/anxious.

- When you say 'rolled' I think he's rolling. You might want to stick to simple. He 'leaned' his body.

- The use of 'slim' in your last sentence felt very misplaced.

Good luck! This is something I'd love to beta if you're looking for another pair of eyes :)
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Re: Shadows - First Page

Post by JadePhoenix » August 30th, 2010, 10:22 am

Yay, thank you! I had one agent tell me if one person says it make note, if two people say it consider it, if three people say it then fix it. I had three, and then a few more, say the same thing so I'm working on fixing it! :)

The book actually doesn't have werewolves as characters in it. Rather it's a world that allows them to exist. The werewolves I have in my head (and the ones that appeared in the first book before the revision) aren't human - they're more like scary intelligent wolves on steroids. :) I got rid on them in favor of some more interesting creatures in the revision (at least I hope they're more interesting!), but I left the reference just to show it's a world where anything can happen, or exist.

I'm glad you liked it and thank you for the feedback! I'm still in the process of re-writing it, but I will keep in mind the beta offer, thank you! I wanted feedback right now because I didn't want to revise the WHOLE thing only to find people A. had the same problem, B. had NEW problems or C. I somehow managed to make it worse! At least maybe I seem to be on the right track! I definitely will need a beta - it's so hard to see things when you're the author because you know it to well! I'll work on what you said, thank you again! :)

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Re: Shadows - First Page

Post by sldwyer » August 30th, 2010, 12:13 pm

An interesting beginning. Although I usually do not read YA, I thought this was a story I would like to read through. So keep posting.

As far as the writing goes, watch your tense. Some places is present and some past. Not overly, but still obvious. Also watch how much you use "but". The sentences could read better is it was left out and reworked.

Good luck.

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Re: Shadows - First Page

Post by JadePhoenix » August 30th, 2010, 2:48 pm

Yeah, I've been reading through what I've written (around 100 pages) and saw I was using "but" a lot. One of my problems before was way to much passive writing and, in trying to make it active, I've created some new problems that I'm trying to work through. I'll get there though! I'm glad I'm getting positive responses. The agents were telling me the concept was awesome, but they weren't connecting with my MC. One agent said I was telling, and not showing, so I've been working on that. Once I feel more confident I'll post the entire first chapter and see what people think.

On a bright note - nobody so far has said I was repetitive, passive, or telling/not showing, and those are the three main things I had wrong. I've changed my writing a lot for this draft and it makes sense that I'd have some new problems cropping up with the new writing style, so it's a HUGE help to have someone else look at it and say what's wrong.

I'll keep an eye on the tense - I hadn't noticed it changing so thank you for pointing it out!

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D.S. Deshaw
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Re: Shadows - First Page

Post by D.S. Deshaw » August 30th, 2010, 7:10 pm

I didn't think a thorough tooth-pick would help you but maybe it will. Sldweyer brought up a good point about the word 'but.' 'But' is definitely one of those words that get me. Also look for 'just', 'that', 'back,' (glanced back at, looked back at--usually it can just be 'glanced' or 'looked' at), and obviously 'had' since that typically lends itself to passive tense. I've also read it's good to switch -ing verbs to -ed. You seem to use -ing a lot.
a rush of adrenaline chasing away the morning chill.
and a rush of adrenaline chased away...
Tightening his grip on the rifle, Aaron took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
Aaron took a deep breath and closed his eyes as he tightened his grip on the rifle.
Continuing to repeat the litany under his breath, the seventeen-year-old rolled his body to the side just enough to allow him to see past the trunk into the clearing.
He continued to repeat the litany under his breath. The seventeen-year-old rolled (or leaned) his body to the side enough to allow him to see past the trunk into the clearing.
The rip was at the far end, a swirling blue-black and crimson vortex allowing other worlds to bleed in where they didn’t belong.
The rip was at the far end. The swirling blue-black and crimson vortex allowed...
He cursed under his breath; grabbing the device and turning it down before it gave away his position or, worse, scared the target.
He cursed under his breath; he grabbed the device and turned it down... (a period would obviously work as well. That depends on your style and preference, though.)
A shadow moved, and Aaron’s eyes focused on a deer grazing just inside the tree line.
I think this one is fine :) take out the 'just.' It's unneeded!
Aaron reached down, scooped up some of the twigs and small pebbles littering the forest floor, and tossed them deeper into the woods.
I think this part is fine, but the sentence in general runs a little long. I would change the comma for a period: He tossed them deeper into the woods.
The creature startled and slim, onyx wings fluttered briefly before settling.
The creature fluttered its slim, onyx wings at the noise, and then settled. (This shows it was startled rather than telling us that it was startled).

Nitpicky, but hopefully helpful. You were clear of the word 'that.' Try to switch up your sentence structure and length a bit. By all means, don't put in a bunch of choppy sentences, but usually shortening the sentences in 'action' scenes like this really helps bring the intensity up a notch. Good luck revising :)
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Re: Shadows - First Page

Post by JadePhoenix » August 30th, 2010, 8:47 pm

Anything helps and the more tooth-pick the better! Thank you for the help! I hadn't thought of making action sentences shorter -it makes a lot of sense! I also hadn't thought of switching "ing" to "ed" but it does seem that would make it a stronger sentence.

I have a big problem with "had" and "was" and "back" so I tried REALLY hard not to have them. I did a search for all three and tried to rewrite to get rid of them. I also have problems with repetition and, as mentioned, passive writing. I heard reading out loud really points that sort of thing out so I've been going back and doing that to try and catch anywhere I'm repeating words or ideas.

It's nice to have direction when revising. Otherwise you're just kind of floundering in the dark hoping that you're fixing the right things and not missing other things. Thank you! :)

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Re: Shadows - First Page

Post by SSB » August 30th, 2010, 9:33 pm

The sound of crunching leaves sent Aaron Knight into a crouch behind a tree, a rush of
adrenaline chasing ](chased)
away the morning chill. Rough bark dug into his back, but he ignored the
discomfort and held still.(How did rough bark dig into his back where was he? Against a tree?) Tightening his grip on the rifle, Aaron took a deep breath and closed his
eyes.

“Please don’t be another werewolf. Please don’t be another werewolf.” (Can Werewolves be taken out by a rifle?)

The almost-healed wound in his side gave a phantom throb in response, and Aaron’s heart rate
picked up. Continuing to repeat the litany under his breath, the seventeen-year-old rolled his body
to the side just enough to allow him to see past the trunk into the clearing.

The rip was at the far end, a swirling blue-black and crimson vortex allowing other worlds to
bleed in where they didn’t belong. Tracks led from the base, but he didn’t see anything in the
vicinity. (I'm confused by this paragraph. What rip?)

The walkie-talkie at his hip squawked, (maybe a ; and strike and}and a startled, inhuman snort sounded from Aaron’s left.
He cursed under his breath; grabbing the device and turning it down, before it gave away his
position or, worse, scared the target.

A shadow moved, and Aaron’s eyes focused on a deer grazing just inside the tree line. The
animal was deep ebony, and blended into the(maybe with instead of into?) shadows under the canopy as it cropped at grass and
leaves underfoot.

Aaron reached down, scooped up some of the twigs and small pebbles littering the forest floor,
and tossed them deeper into the woods. The creature startled, and(a set of?) slim, onyx wings fluttered briefly
before settling.

Please take my corrections with a grain of salt. I am far from an expert.

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Re: Shadows - First Page

Post by JadePhoenix » August 31st, 2010, 10:15 am

Thank you! I've only been doing this a short time, so I'm probably even less of an expert! Any advice helps! The rip gets explained more on page two and, yep, in my world werewolved can be taken out with a shotgun blast. The only problem is they're scary smart and hard to kill (think of the raptors from Jurassic Park, only enormous wolves), so that's part of the reason he's freaked. The other reason is the last werewolf he had to face almost ate him. He's very paranoid about getting eaten. Thanks again! :)

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Re: Shadows - First Page

Post by Classic Camp » September 6th, 2010, 1:49 pm

I agree with others who said it was a pretty strong opening and seems to draw readers in (at least it drew me in a bit). One things stands out to me though is that you mention werewolves in the opening, and then said you took out all the werewolves in the rest of the story. I think whatever is in the beginning should follow what's in the rest of the story. If it contains werewolves, keep them in the beginning, if it doesn't take them out of there as well. If I were picking up a book that mentioned werewolves in the opening pages I would expect to see them later on.

I kind of latched onto one key thing there, but I feel it's worth noting. I hope it helps.

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Re: Shadows - First Page

Post by Quill » September 6th, 2010, 2:37 pm

The subject and tone are interesting and draw me along nicely, but several points pull me out of the story along the way.
JadePhoenix wrote:CHAPTER ONE

The sound of crunching leaves sent Aaron Knight into a crouch behind a tree, a rush of
adrenaline chasing away the morning chill.
Hmm. How about "with a rush of adrenaline"? Just to make it crystal clear what is happening, since you are switching from external to internal action.

Also, how about "adrenaline burning off the morning chill" or some such, something a bit more accurate; does adrenaline really chase things away?
Rough bark dug into his back, but he ignored the
discomfort and held still. Tightening his grip on the rifle, Aaron took a deep breath and closed his
eyes.
Good.
“Please don’t be another werewolf. Please don’t be another werewolf.”
Now, this seems odd, that he would be focused on holding still to the point of bearing the discomfort of tree bark, and yet utter words aloud. And repeat them.
The almost-healed wound in his side gave a phantom throb in response, and Aaron’s heart rate
picked up.
A bit incongruous that his heart rate would "pick up" some time after the adrenaline rush. Wouldn't these occur concurrently?
Continuing to repeat the litany under his breath, the seventeen-year-old rolled his body
to the side just enough to allow him to see past the trunk into the clearing.
Again, seems a bit unrealistic to speak this "litany" rather than think it.
The rip was at the far end, a swirling blue-black and crimson vortex
Since we don't know what "the rip" is, might be best to intro it through its phenomena rather than by name: "At the far end swirled a blue-black and crimson vortex, a rip," or some such.
allowing other worlds to bleed in
This comes across, in this tense and early moment of your story, as generic and backstory, an author aside that doesn't fit. Perhaps it could be rewritten to be more specific, like "the xyz world to bleed in," or expand it to employ the info in the story, like, "... which surprised Aaron, since he'd never seen it here before" or some such.

where they didn’t belong.
Belong according to whom? According to the author? In that case be careful about adding author asides so early. According to Aaron? Again be careful, since we don't know Aaron yet, and we are focused on a tense opening moment, and don't care so much about world-building yet. If important here, then maybe add a few words connecting the info to Aaron, like I exampled above.

Tracks led from the base, but he didn’t see anything in the
vicinity.
Again, specificity would up the tension and keep us riveted inside the scene: what sort of tracks? Vehicle? Human? Animal? Other being? Clue: "anything" doesn't help us create the picture.
The walkie-talkie at his hip squawked, and a startled, inhuman snort sounded from Aaron’s left.
Great complication. Intriguing and info-rich.
He cursed under his breath; grabbing the device and turning it down before it gave away his
position or, worse, scared the target.
Substitute comma for semi-colon after "breath".

Wordy: In more or less two seconds he does three things before two things happen. Try removing one from each. Streamline. For starters I'd omit the cursing. I myself wouldn't audible in those circumstances.
A shadow moved, and Aaron’s eyes focused on a deer grazing just inside the tree line.
Sorry, I just can't believe a deer would be nonchalantly grazing with all the noise coming from Aaron. How big is this clearing?
The
animal was deep ebony, and blended into the shadows under the canopy as it cropped at grass and
leaves underfoot.
Hmm, deep ebony? A deep black deer? Okay.

Omit "under the canopy" as superfluous. Can shadows be elsewhere? You already said "inside the treeline".

A deer would "crop" (cut) grass, not "crop at grass".

A deer would not eat leaves underfoot, as deer do not eat dead leaves.

It is not possible to "crop (at) leaves" (cut leaves) that are loose underfoot; they are not attached to anything.
Aaron reached down, scooped up some of the twigs and small pebbles littering the forest floor,
Wordy: how about "Aaron scooped up some twigs and small pebbles" we already know those would be on the ground, and that they are part of a greater body of the same.
and tossed them deeper into the woods.
How about "tossed them behind him." or some such. It seems awkward to say deeper into woods, when it is not clear that he is deep in the woods; in fact he is at the edge of a clearing, which appears to countermand the idea of being deep.
The creature startled and slim, onyx wings fluttered briefly
before settling.
This is not a complete sentence. And while I am not a stickler for complete sentences, this one seems awkward:

You appear to use "startle" as a verb, although it is unclear at first whether it is startled or is doing the startling.

You follow with a noun "slim" which is an odd juxtapose: the creature (was) startled and (is) slim. That's like saying "Aaron was scared, and six feet tall."

Then you introduce wings which presumably Aaron would/would not have seen (it's unclear) which you describe as stone (onyx, a quartz) and fluttering (fluttering stone).

And "briefly" can be omitted as redundant to "fluttering before settling".

Might it be wise to say "winged deer" when intro'ing the animal? Or making it clear that this is a surprising creature, by saying "to Aaron's surprise..." Maybe you do, after this.

I'm just getting the feeling that a bit more work creating the dynamic of the world and the situation in these opening lines may give us a bit more sense of being there, and a bit more believable tension.

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Re: Shadows - First Page

Post by JadePhoenix » September 6th, 2010, 9:54 pm

I think you are right. I've been changing things to try and make them fit in with the flow of the story better. I sat down and worked out a Story Bible so hopefully it'll all flow together better.

Thank you for everyone's comments. I'll post the first chapter when I get it done and hopefully it'll be even better OR, at the very least, won't have the same problems you guys already pointed out! :)

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Re: Shadows - First Page

Post by Babslighthouse » September 8th, 2010, 11:10 am

I just read it and agree with what everyone else is saying I have heard as well watch words you like to use over and over and rework them and also the ed and ing. I have to say though I would want to read more myself. I will watch for your rework and read it again.

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Re: Shadows - First Chapter (Revised)

Post by JadePhoenix » September 13th, 2010, 1:58 am

Repost just in case someone jumps right to the newest post and doesn't see where I added this to the first post. *All right, I finished the first chapter and added it as a new post. You'll notice the page here appears nowhere in it. In doing some further research and reflection I realized the page, and much of what came after, could be removed and it wouldn't change anything. In other words, it was the start of my book but wasn't the start of my story (if that makes any sense!). The chapter now IS the start of my story, everything that happens, happens because of or builds off of the events of this chapter. I just hope it's good!
Anyway, due to the fact that it's an entire chapter I obviously don't expect anyone to give a line by line read of it. Rather I'd just like if anyone could give it a glance through and give me your thoughts on my characters, any huge glaring problems you see, etc. There are some potential problems I see but I tend to be a pefectionist and I have a problem with confidence in my writing a lot SO I thought I'd leave it alone and see if anyone else saw it or if it was just in my head. Thank you in advance! :)


The book is YA Paranormal and the forum messed with my formatting and I don't want to go through the whole thing and fix it. In my document it's double spaced, one space after period, standard indent for new paragraphs.

CHAPTER ONE

Hunter Outpost 392, also known as the Los Angeles location, consisted of six brick buildings arranged in a loose semi-circle on a sprawling, green campus. In the far corner crouched the training facility, a warehouse sized, concrete structure with no windows or discernable door.

Aaron Knight leaned against the wall of the building, head resting against the concrete, hands in the pockets of his faded leather jacket. Around him moonlight lit up various patches of the landscape, vanishing every so often behind a cloud. A light breeze brought the smell of rain and damp earth.

Voices broke through the chorus of crickets and the seventeen-year-old straightened, trying not to look as bored as he felt. “About time.” He took a step forward, but stayed on the walkway under the dim lights set along the top of the wall.

A female voice separated from the others. “Is it really necessary to do this in the middle of the night?”

“Yes.” A long suffering, male voice responded. “Hunts are rarely polite enough to happen at convenient times and places. Get used to it.”

Aaron grinned, recognizing the voice as one of the hunters he’d mentored with. As they moved into view he saw Rick, tall, bald, and built like a tank. The man wore combat boots, jeans, and several layers of shirts. A holster with a gun poked out from under his jacket, and another sat in a thigh holster.

A teenage girl close to Aaron’s age bounded several feet ahead of him. Tall and slender with waist length blond hair pulled into a ponytail, she wore capris and a purple tank top layered over a black t-shirt. At her throat a silver phoenix with wings outstretched hung on a thin gold chain.
She stumbled, mud sucking at her designer boots, and Aaron stepped forward to steady her.

“Thanks,” she said, with a grin. “Are you taking the test too?”

“No, I just liked the view,” Aaron said. The girl smiled broadly, hands tightening where they gripped his arms.

Behind her another girl, petite and delicate with shoulder length brown hair and glasses called out, “are you okay Kristin?” Kristin looked back, using Aaron as a balance point while she shook the mud off her boots. “I’m fine, Ashley.”
Ashley nodded. Her eyes flickered to Aaron, widened when they met his, and darted away. Aaron looked smug and Ashley folded her arms across her chest, bunching her faded gray sweater. Like Kristin, she wore faded capris and sneakers. Aaron’s eyes narrowed, looking at his own combat boots and jeans. He’d added an old black t-shirt he wouldn’t mind losing and, of course, his leather jacket. He would mind losing that but, aside from Kevlar which was a bit out of his price range, it offered the most protection he could get against things trying to eat him.
“Didn’t anyone tell you two how to dress?”

A confused expression crossed Kristin’s face. “Why do we have to dress a certain way?”

Aaron raised an eyebrow. “So you have a better chance of not getting eaten on your first hunt?”

“I’ll be fine,” Kristin said, tossing her ponytail over her shoulder. “And it’s not like this is going to be a challenge. It’s all Level 3 and under.”

“Hunters have been killed by Level 3s before,” Aaron said.

Kristin rolled her eyes. “Only an idiot--”

“Or someone with more confidence than brains,” Aaron cut in.

Ashley grinned, looking away to hide it. Kristin glared at her. “Whatever.”

“The exercise ensures you can hunt in practice as well as theory,” Rick said. He spoke in as though reciting something for the one thousandth time. “Lessons in a classroom can only take you so far.” He focused his attention on Aaron. “Which begs the question, why are you here?”

Shoving his hands in his pockets, Aaron shrugged. “Some genius decided I can’t hunt solo till I’m twenty-one and I haven’t found anyone in need of a partner in over three months. I’m getting rusty.”

“You’re getting bored.” Rick said, his tone dry. “You’re not happy unless you’re shooting something.”

Aaron chuckled and looked down.

Ashley’s head jerked up. “You’ve hunted? I thought you couldn’t until you were eighteen.”

“There are exceptions,” Aaron said. “I’m one of them.”

Ashley focused on the ground again. “You really know hunters who have been killed by Level 3s?”

“A few,” Aaron said. Ashley paled and Aaron frowned, chewing on his bottom lip. “Most of them weren’t trained. A lot of civilians seem to think anyone can be a hunter.”

“See,” Kristin broke in. “We’ll be fine.” Bouncing over, she grabbed Ashley’s arm and practically dragged the other girl toward the building.

Rick stepped up next to Aaron, and lowered his voice. “Do me a favor and keep an eye on Ashley.”

Aaron watched as the girl stood next to the wall while her friend talked to her, hands gesturing in excitement. “Why is she doing this?”

Rick shrugged. “Couldn’t tell you, she seems to prefer art to killing. Just watch her for me, all right? Trainees getting hurt in basic exercises tends to look bad in the media.”

“Possibly because it is bad?”

Kristin turned and raised her arms in exasperation. “Are you coming or are we going to stare at the wall all night?”

Aaron sighed. “Great, babysitting an artist and Ms. Cocky-Overconfident.”

Rick clapped him on the shoulder. “Consider it a challenge.”

“I’m rethinking being bored.” Aaron shook off the man’s hand and went to where the girls were conferring near the wall.

“About time,” Kristin said, crossing her arms and shifting from foot to foot. “Come on, This is my first time out of the classroom. Let’s go already.”

Aaron moved past them and waved his hand across a section of wall. “Keep your shirt on.” He considered. “On second thought--”

Kristin smacked him lightly on the back of the head. “Don’t finish that thought.”

“You brought it up,” Aaron finished his gesture and a small panel slid aside, revealing a keypad. He punched in a code and a door trundled open, a loud rumble vibrating through the ground at their feet. Beyond stretched a long hallway, three large panes of bulletproof glass rising floor to ceiling mere feet inside, blocking off the inside from the outside.
Aaron stepped inside and moved over as the two girls followed in. Slapping a button he ignored Ashley’s shriek as the door closed, sealing the three of them into the glass enclosure. He leaned forward to enter another code into a small keypad sunk in the glass.

As he did Ashley reached under her sweater and pulled out two small tranquilizer guns. She handed one to Kristin who took it with a thumb and forefinger. “I can’t believe they’re making us use these things.”

“It’s a pain to constantly replenish the place,” Aaron said. “This way hunters aren’t wasting their time on this when they could be out dealing with Level 6s or higher.”

Ashley fiddled with her weapon. “Have you ever hunted a Level 6 before?”

“Oh come on,” Kristin said. “He’s the same age as us and you heard him say he can’t hunt without a mentor. I bet he’s never been on a hunt for anything over Level 4.”

Aaron shook his head, and pulled his own weapon from where it rested at the small of his back, holding it loosely at his side. An entry on the keypad and a small section of glass slid up allowing cold air to blast them from the corridor along with a faint acrid smell.

Ashley wrinkled her nose in disgust. “What is that?”

“Your level 3s.” Aaron moved forward. “Now be quiet unless you want to make it more exciting by having them all come at once to try and eat us.”

Kristin held her own weapon up and stepped forward, slightly ahead of him. “You kind of have a thing about being eaten, you know that?”

“It’s been mentioned.” Aaron stepped to the side of the glass partition, eyes running along the white walls and linoleum floor of the hallway. Simple, brown doors lined both sides, all of them closed. Overhead panels of lights sputtered and flickered casting alternating patterns of light and shadows through the corridor.

Aaron couldn’t help the broad smile. His adrenaline spiked and he bounced slightly on the balls of his feet. “Cool.”

He moved forward, keeping his back against the wall. Ashley stayed next to him while Kristin brought up the rear.

Reaching the first door, Aaron slid a hand to the knob and opened it in one quick motion. Keeping the gun ready, he took a deep breath and went in. The second he cleared the door he moved right, clearing the space for the girls. Ashley moved next to Aaron while Kristin took up a stance on the other side of the door.

The room, about the size of a standard classroom, held a large desk at the front, several rows of school desks and chairs, and a small door set in the wall at the rear of the room.

Aaron nodded at Ashley. “Keep an eye on the door, all right?” He shifted his attention to Kristin. “Closet or desk?”

“Closet,” she answered immediately.

“All right.” Aaron went forward, reaching the side of the desk and holding still. He heard nothing and, after a pause, moved sharply around the corner of the desk aiming his weapon at the small space under the desk. It was empty, at the other end Kristin opened the door to the closet and checked it.
Aaron watched, and decided not to point out how potentially fatal it could be to open a door standing directly in front of it. He’d mention if to Rick later and let him deal with it.

“Okay,” Aaron said, stepping to the middle of the room, eyes on the ceiling. “One down, whole bunch more to go.”

Ashley followed his gaze. “What are you doing?”

“Looking up,” Aaron answered. “Tends to cut down on the potential of being ea--.” He dropped off, eyes darting toward Kristin who looked smug.

They went into the corridor and continued on, crossing from side to side and methodically sweeping each room. With each one Aaron felt his body growing more tense, instincts shooting off alarm bells.

“I thought there were supposed to be several things in here,” Kristin complained, shoving her gun in her waistband.

“Stop talking,” Aaron said, his voice hard.

“Maybe we should turn back,” Ashley said, her words mirroring Aaron’s thoughts.

“No,” Kristin said. “I’m not going back and whining that I couldn’t find anything and it was creepy. I’ll never live it down.”

She shoved past Aaron, inadvertently putting herself in front of his weapon. He jerked it aside with a curse. “Are you stupid? And what did I just say about shutting up?”

“Sorry,” Kristin said. “I don’t remember you being put in charge.” They’d reached the end of the hall, where it curved to the left into another, identical hallway.

Aaron reached his hand out, intending to pull Kristin behind him, but she dodged and vanished around the corner.

“Son of a--” Aaron followed, weapon up and ready.

The corridor stood silent, and empty. Overhead the lights seemed to fluctuate more than the first corridor, casting deeper shadows. At the end a black slick pooled unnaturally on the ground, to dark and oddly shaped to be a shadow.

Kristin stood in the center of the hall, tapping her hand against her thigh. “What is that?”

“Blood,” Aaron said, keeping his body close to the wall. “Maybe a couple of them killed each other.”

“This is ridiculous,” Kristin said. “The stupid creatures are getting more action than we are.”

Aaron’s instincts switched from alarms to shrieking at him. “You shouldn’t stand out in the open like that. And you really, really need to stop talking, right now.”

The girl whirled to face him. “I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks. Most of the rest of my class already took the test and there’s no way in hell I’m walking out now and whining that I got scared because nothing attacked me.”

“Kristin,” Ashley said. She stood behind Aaron, so close she almost vanished behind him. “Perhaps--”

She never got a chance to finish.

A shadow flickered.

Kristin’s body jolted. Aaron’s eyes went to hers and, for just a second, he saw confusion and the briefest flicker of pain. Then the emotions faded, draining out like water down a drain and her eyes became vacant, staring fixed at nothing.

She died in silence.

Classic Camp
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Re: Shadows - First Chapter (Revised)

Post by Classic Camp » September 13th, 2010, 3:01 pm

Wow, this is infinitely better than the previous version, IMO. Just a few small things though. Is there some way to mention how many kid there are early on, because it took me a while to fingure there were 4 all together (I think there were 4, right? or did I miss something?), and I found two typos, one where about halfway down where you typed "if" instead of "it" and another where you typed "to" where you meant "too."

If there's anything else wrong with it, it's beyond my scope of knowledge, and again, this is way better.

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