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16+ Violence

Firefly

by inktopus


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence.

White light glared into the dark living room from the old box TV. An old rerun of National Geographic about fireflies played on the screen, lulling Amelia to sleep on the couch. Getting up, she did not turn the TV off as she shuffled to her room. The fireflies danced as she went to bed.

The quiet voice of the narrator on the program and the skittering of rodents’ feet did not keep Amelia awake; it was the silence. Somehow, despite the murmur of background noise, it felt all too quiet. Perhaps because the only sound coming from a human was the sound of her own breathing.

---

Light streamed in from the broken blinds at an unearthly time. Groaning, Amelia turned away from the window and wiped the crust from her eyes. She kicked off the sheets and slid, boneless, from her bed. She sat limply on the floor, leaning against the mattress for a few minutes, barely able to convince herself to get up. She sighed. It was her day off; better not to waste it.

Methodically, she showered, dressed, and brushed her teeth. While combing out her hair, she took a moment to inspect her face in the mirror. Noticing the sickly pallor to her already pale skin, and the bluish purple, sunken circles under her eyes, she sucked in a breath. She really ought to take better care of herself, she thought like she did every single morning; she never bothered to actually eat well or sleep enough.

It was cold outside; the kind of cold that chilled Amelia to the bone, and after a while out, it turned numb, but there was a sort of stiffness that it gave you even after you became numb to it. The wind blasted Amelia in the face as soon as she stepped outside, pinking her pale cheeks.

Collar pulled up to her chin, she began to walk, shoulders hunched, hands thrust deep into her pockets. She didn’t know where she was going, but somehow she knew she had a destination. It seemed that her feet knew where to take her, and it was all she could do to not trip over them as they pulled her their own way. Before she could gain her bearings, she took a sharp turn, grays and browns blurring in her vision.

Suddenly, she stopped.

Head spinning, she gazed blearily around herself, not really seeing where she was. She closed her eyes and willed the dizziness to go away.

When the dizziness ebbed away, and she was finally able to see her surroundings, she was utterly confused. Why had her feet taken her to the park? But it seemed that her feet were not quite done. And in that gray and brown park, her feet walked her down the cement sidewalk, and Amelia resigned herself to wherever they were taking her.

Time seemed to skip.

She fell. Feet first.

She wasn’t scared; she didn’t know the hole was there before she fell. Covered with long dead, crumbling leaves from fall, but leaves give way beneath feet. So Amelia fell.

She felt the thud from inside her bones. A solid hit that vibrated from the outside in, rattling her ribs. Softly glowing stars floated in her vision as it went from dark to bright and back again. Just before it went black for the final time, she noticed a flash of yellow-white.

She awoke to a strange sound. A sort of juicy squish. A metallic scent teased her nose. The pain was a delayed reaction, and she only really felt it when she saw the creatures. Ugly gray things, all long, gangly limbs with sagging skin and craggy yellow-white teeth smeared with red.

It simultaneously excruciating and numb. The creatures crowded around her, hunch-backed and hideous. She gazed at them, eyes glazing over. The creatures flickered to something different: golden, beautiful, ethereal. She blinked and they were monsters again.

Her vision began to flicker back and forth. The beautiful creature smiled at her. Its teeth were the same craggy teeth as the hideous creatures’. Amelia smiled back.

Her vision stopped flickering, and the creatures were beautiful, even with faces stained red. Her body no longer hurt. They fed on her; belly ripped open with crimson blood spilling out. Her intestines mixing with her fluids to make a bright red soup with her body as the bowl.

Slowly, her surroundings began to change, and they, too, became beautiful. The dank floor became sparkling marble, the walls seemed to grow intricate tapestries, and warmly glowing lights appeared. One of them landed on Amelia: a firefly.

Amelia began to feel sleepy. The creatures had slowed in their feeding. Her vision began blur and darken.

The fireflies danced as she went to sleep.


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Points: 252
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Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:38 pm
DogFruit wrote a review...



Cool idea! Here's my review.

Nitpicks:
* I, personally think that waking up and looking in the mirror are cliched. I would do it differently, like maybe she just had a fight with her parents and is taking a walk because she's angry, or she feels trapped in her house/apartment.
* "She really ought to take better care of herself, she thought like she did every single morning; she never bothered to actually eat well or sleep enough.

It was cold outside; the kind of cold that chilled Amelia to the bone, and after a while out, it turned numb, but there was a sort of stiffness that it gave you even after you became numb to it. The wind blasted Amelia in the face as soon as she stepped outside, pinking her pale cheeks.

Collar pulled up to her chin, she began to walk..."

You take a big jump from her looking in the mirror to walking. We don't know why she's walking or what made her decide to take a walk. I was confused and I had to read this a couple times.

I really like this story. I feel like there could be some hidden messages about heaven, hell, and purgatory in this story somewhere ^.^ hope to see more from you!




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Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:11 pm
Tuckster wrote a review...



Hey there! MJ here to pound out a short review :)

She really ought to take better care of herself, she thought like she did every single morning; she never bothered to actually eat well or sleep enough.
I think this would be better if you put her thoughts in italics and put it in first person, so it read like I really ought to take better care of myself, she thought.

It simultaneously excruciating and numb
This was packed full of grammar mistakes, no offense to you, but I think what you mean is 'It was simultaneously excruciating and numbing".

Her vision began blur and darken.
Technically, to be grammatically correct you would only need to add a 'to' in front of 'blur', but to have this worded best, you might want to consider using parallelism by saying 'Her vision began to blur and to darken'. It's smoother and just a better writing style because it incorporates rhetorical elements.

There are two main things that stumped me here: First, why does Amelia go on the walk in the first place? You seem to almost jump forward in time; first she is thinking that she should take better care of herself, and then immediately she is bundled up in a coat and ready to go. It just feels like you skipped something there, and therefore the transition is a little awkward.

Secondly, the monster section confused me a little too. You offered some very good and gory descriptions, but I'm a little confused on what she saw. From what I got, she saw fireflies who looked like monsters, and then they were beautiful, and then they were monsters again. I was confused on the symbolism of that, and it also didn't really impact me. I also agree with Kyllorac: your descriptions were gory, but it didn't have really any suspense, or any power to it. I just didn't feel the horror of what Amelia was going through, and it seemed more to me as another cliche realistic fiction story.

But overall, I think you have strong potential as a writer, and for a first draft, you have something to work with here. There are several edits that need to be implemented, if you care to, and I think the reader needs to be able to emphasize more with Amelia, and that can be achieved through an emotional connection. The readers should be able to see Amelia's thoughts, feel her ups and downs, and then ride out the ride with her so it becomes truly horrific and scary for them as well. Hopefully this review was helpful, and if you need anything from me, feel free to ask, and I'll be around!

Best wishes,
MJ




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Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:20 am
Kale wrote a review...



Hello there and happy RevMo (even if I am a bit late to the reviewing party)! I, a bold Knight of the Green Room, am here today to review you.

This is probably going to sound rather strange, but bear with me: I didn't find this horrific at all.

There are a few reasons for this, but I think the biggest one is how this story overall is quite lacking in the sort of gradually-building context that leads to really good horror. The ending is a pretty good example, with how the creatures appear as fireflies to Amelia. I get the impression that fireflies are supposed to be significant in some way, but that significance isn't really established strongly enough for it to have an impact at the end. All we see, as readers, is Amelia leaves the TV on (which happens to be playing a program on fireflies) because she's all alone and doesn't want there to be silence. That's it for an introduction to the importance of fireflies to Amelia, and that's not nearly enough to make the fireflies a source of any emotional impact.

Another thing that really works against the element of horror in this is how the most horrific parts just happen to Amelia... and she doesn't really react or feel anything about that. While that sort of reaction on Amelia's part could definitely be a source of some pretty delicious horror, it falls flat in this because there's not enough time spent establishing Amelia as a character, and what characterization she does receive paints her as rather apathetic and depressed and so not really capable of the emotional range that a sudden lack of emotions would induce a sense of horror about.

Both of these issues could be fixed by spending a bit more time establishing Amelia's character, particularly her likes, dislikes, hopes, and fears. If, for example, Amelia fears having no control over her actions, that lends her feet taking over a much more potent element of horror. If she fears eventually not feeling anything, that could be another potent source. Etc.

Basically, you have a basic story here, but for it to be really horrific, you're going to need to expand this to build up the horror more gradually rather than relying on goriness to carry the entire weight of the Horror label.




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Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:52 am
AliceinBluue wrote a review...



Hello hello! Alice here to give you a review!

First, the good stuff!

I really liked the plot of your story. A girl is pulled into a trap by forces she cannot control. Her feet guide her and she must follow, she falls into a pit she didn't see, and it barely phases her. I also thought it was interesting that while she was still relatively healthy, the creatures looked like monsters, the trap looked like a pit. However, as they started to kill her and feed off her, the creatures turn beautiful and the pit trap turns into a lavish hall. I thought that was great and it's not an idea you see that many people play around with.

I honestly think my favorite line is 'Softly glowing stars floated in her vision as it went from dark to bright and back again.' It just flows so nicely and the descriptive words are stunning!!!

Now onto my critiques.

In the line 'the kind of cold that chilled Amelia to the bone, and after a while out, it turned numb, but there was a sort of stiffness that it gave you even after you became numb to it.' I think you forgot to put either a you or a her after it turned and before numb. You also switch from talking about Amelia and having the story focused on her to addressing an unknown 'you'. And in the sentence following this one you go back to focusing on Amelia again. So while what you are describing is amazing, it throws off the narrative of the story.

'It simultaneously excruciating and numb.' What was suddenly excruciating and numb? Her head, her foot? Did she break something when she fell? Also, hot do the two sensations exist at the same time? If you are numb, you cannot experience pain, and when you are in pain, you cannot experience pain. Is it coming in waves? If I could make a slight suggestion, you could write it so that one minute she's in blinding pain and the next shes numb all over and she's not sure which one scares her more.

Overall, this was a fascinating read and I can't wait to read more!!!





"The rules of capitalization are so unfair to the words in the middle of a sentence."
— John Green, Paper Towns