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Prologue (The Dark Ones)

by KatjaDawn

     I stood silently in a room deprived of light and sound. My breathing picked up only to realize that the air was far thicker than it should have been. Something like breathing in water after already holding your breath for so long. It was painful. The sensation made me panic. I began thrashing and struggling to get just one little breath of clean air into my lungs. Futile.

    Something blood-curdling broke the silence. A scream as high pitched as it was loud. It carried on for several seconds, piercing my ears like tiny blades over and over again on top of the burning sensation of my lungs. I tried to scream along with it, though the only sounds I could manage were choking from the thickening air.

     "You're already dead," a deep and sinister voice breathed down my neck. 

     "Lacey?!" my mother's panicked shriek snapped me back into the real world. She had apparently been trying to wake me, her hands still tightly holding onto my shoulders as though she had been shaking me. 

     "Nightmare," I breathed the word out, unable to say much more. My breathing was as fast as it would have been if I had actually been struggling to get air. I quickly sat up and using the back of my hand, wiped away the sweat that had formed on my forehead.

     She was staring at me with that motherly concern, one of her hands still holding my shoulder. "This is the third time this week you've had nightmares that end in you screaming out loud," she furrowed her brows as she spoke. "Needless to say, you're starting to worry me a bit."

     My mother helped me out of bed and gently led me to the bathroom. My legs were still shaking from the dream that I'd just had. She carefully set me down on the edge of the tub and smiled at me, though her concerned expression never left.  

     Something startled me, a subtle burning sensation across my right forearm. Examining it closely, I watched as- before my eyes- three jagged scratches formed one at a time, side by side. This time, there was nothing stopping me from screaming. 

A/N: The prologue is deliberately short and vague. It's really more of a test to see if I should continue the novel or not. If you enjoyed it please feel free to let me know, so I know if anyone will stay tuned for the first chapter! As always, I greatly appreciate reviews and feedback. Thanks for reading!! :)

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933 Reviews

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Reviews: 933

Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:51 am
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Iggy wrote a review...

Hey there! It looks like Noelle already covered a lot of the technical nitpicks, so I'm just gonna share my thoughts with you.

Prologue-wise, this was pretty good. I'm not usually a fan of prologues, since I don't really like reading an exciting scene, having questions that aren't being answered, and then being thrown into the first chapter that is going to begin nowhere near what just happened, but I thought this wasn't too bad for a prologue. I like that you were vague, enough to draw in the reader's interest, without giving away too much of the plot. Already I can tell that this is going to be an interesting story and I am curious to know more.

One thing I do want to point out is the end, when the mother is staring at the protagonist in horror. I gather that it's because of the deep scratches forming on their forearm. But, like... how would the mother have seen that if it was on their forearm and not somewhere more noticeable? Especially if her(?) their? arms were to their side. It's not really something you notice right away, and how would the mother notice that before the person it's happening to notice it? After all, the protagonist would've felt it before they saw it, so I just found that scene to be unbelievable. I do recommend editing that part. But other than that, this wasn't a bad prologue at all. Nice work. :)

I hope this helps. xx

KatjaDawn says...

Hey Iggy, thank you so much for reviewing! Thanks for pointing that out too.... I went back and read it again, and it does seem rather unbelievable. I'm definitely going to re-think that part and edit it. Thanks again, :D

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1416 Reviews

Points: 3633
Reviews: 1416

Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:56 pm
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Noelle wrote a review...

Hi there!

Short and vague just how I like it. Seriously, it's the best way to write a prologue. They're meant to be just an introduction to the main story. If they're long and never ending there's no point of it being there. Just make it a chapter. I thank you for keeping this on the short side.

My breathing picked up only to realize that the air was far thicker than it should have been.

I don't see a reason to have the 'breathing picked up' part. There are other ways to tell us that the air is thick. You could even just say it if you want. "The air was thicker than it should have been." Short, sweet, to the point. If there's anything I've learned about writing over the years it's that simpler is better.

The sensation made me panic, I began thrashing and struggling to get just one little breath of clean air into my lungs.

There should be a period where the comma is. That's a full sentence and even though the second half supports what the first half says, it's an overload. Breaking it up also keeps everything moving. You have the makings of a fast paced prologue here so make sure to keep the pace up. The more choppy you make this the faster the pace.

The only problem with fast paced pieces though is sometimes they become too fast paced. If you write nothing but three word sentences it's too choppy. You don't have that here, I'm just saying in general if this is how you like to write. I do. Fast paced still can have long descriptive sentences and pauses to break the action. Try to save the choppy sentences for the action part of things, like the section I quoted above.

Then, something blood-curdling broke the silence.

The 'then' also breaks the pace. Its a transition word, meaning we're moving from one thing to the other. In this instance you want the action to continue. There's not really a transition, just something else happening that adds to the action. If you take that word out the action will flow right though into this paragraph.

This time, there was no “dream-air” to stop me from screaming.

I don't know how I feel about the "dream-air" part. It tripped me up. I suggest saying something like "the air became as dense as in my dream." Obviously not those exact words, but you get what I'm saying. That way we're reminded exactly what that feeling was. Relating her feelings now back to what she was feeling before also ties it all together.

Going back to breaking the pace again, I want to talk about the mother's role in the prologue. I'm not sure if it's super important or not that she's in this prologue so I'm going to assume she's not, but if she is I'm here to play the devil's advocate. I don't like that she's in this. We already don't know who this narrator is and then you throw an extra character in here. It's not bad that she's there; I can understand you wanting to have something to pull Lacey from the dream. However, she breaks the intense flow.

Suddenly we're yanked from this terrifying experience back to real life. I was almost let down by it. Consider taking her out and just have Lacey pull herself out of the dream. That way the pace would continue and keep us pulled in. You can still have her go to the bathroom and have the three gashes, just don't let anyone else realize she's up. The terror from the dream would still be alive in her as she's trying to make it to the bathroom. Since this prologue is so short you must be cognoscente of how it feels as a whole.

Overall I really enjoyed this prologue. I'm a fan of them in novels if just to introduce some part of the novel. There are a lot of people that will tell you that prologues are unnecessary and annoying. I say don't listen to them. If you want to write a prologue write one. If I've learned anything about writing over the years it's that doing what you think will work will work. Believe in yourself and your skills.

Your writing style is great. There are a few places where the flow breaks a little. I didn't point them all out so as not to overwhelm you, but if you'd like me to I will definitely come back and do that. Just let me know. The few parts I pointed out can give you an idea of what I mean by breaking the flow. I'm a huge fan of the fast paced and dangerous so I loved this. Keep up the good work!

Let me know when you post again I would love to come back and read more.

Keep writing!

KatjaDawn says...

Thank you Noelle for your review! I took a few of your suggestions and made changes to my prologue, so seriously thank you. I will say though, The mother's role is vital (in my humble opinion) for reasons that will become more obvious in the coming chapter. I feel it also emphasizes her dependency as a minor. I definitely agree that her role takes away from the intensity... I need to find a balance in writing that I haven't yet grasped... I'm still new to this haha. Thanks so much for your review, it was very helpful and showed me my weak points and strengths. I hope if I finish this, I can improve as I go. :D

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read.
— Groucho Marx