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16+ Violence

The Memories Tattooed On His Skin (MTOHS) - Chapter 1.1

by SpiritedWolfe


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

Chapter 1 - Hunter ~ Wordcount: 1922

Dusk had faded into a starless night as the last of the sunset’s light bled away, replaced by a haze of streetlights. The city was unrecognizable after dark, the pounding of our feet against the pavement seemingly the only sound for miles. Grey lead me down abandoned sidewalks and across empty streets until she stopped abruptly.

We stood at the entrance of an unremarkable alleyway, which was partially blocked by a large dumpster. Then, she reached out and touched my cheek. In the time it took to blink, her face morphed into a mask but not her typical mask. It was pure white, had no mouth, but had a place for two blue eyes to peer back at me. I assumed she gave me something similar because she immediately walked into the alley. I followed.

Shadows quickly enveloped us as we moved deeper between the buildings. Once my eyes adjusted, I noticed a burly man propped up against the backwall, smoking a cigarette. He gave a side glance to Grey as she approached him and puffed out some smoke. He must have known from the masks what we were here for because he shuffled a few feet to the right and kicked up a sheet of cardboard to reveal a trap door on the ground.

As Grey opened the hatch and began to lift herself inside, the man said, “Bold to already be wearing those. Police might think you’re actually one of them.” Another cloud of smoke left his lips as he continued not looking at us.

Grey gave a slow, mocking response as her lips curled into a grin. “Even the police are too scared of Splinter to come out at night.” She continued down as if the conversation hadn’t happened, and I moved to follow her. The man tried to hold his nerve, but I could sense he was shaken. As soon as I had made it to the bottom of the trap door, it slammed shut above us.

We were thrown into darkness, the only light a faint outline of a doorframe several feet in front of us. The hall was damp, dark, and empty, and the air felt cold against my skin. Grey pressed her mind against mine and urged me forward. I strode past her and listened to my footsteps on stone echo around me.

As I walked, I reminded myself of the mission: find the target and bring him to the docks. Grey came to control any external variables, but it was my job to collect the man.

It took about a minute to reach the glow of the doorframe, and as we approached it, I paused to listen. There was complete silence from the other side, but there was an uproar of thought and emotion. There was an energy of excitement and dread as a crowd of people waited for the event to begin. I knocked on the heavy wooden door as Grey had instructed me to.

There was a soft click and another white mask identical to Grey’s greeted me. He had brown eyes filled with shock as he looked at me and then at Grey directly beside me. He opened his mouth to speak, but she moved in and forced the door open, saying quietly, “We’re newcomers, just interested in the cause. We won’t cause you trouble.”

He swallowed hard as she moved past him and replied, “Oh. Well, alright. We were just about to start.” I followed Grey inside and found a cramped room packed with a small crowd of a few dozen normals. Wooden crates were stacked up beside mossy stone walls. I quickly noted that there was a second entrance to the room besides the way we’d come, which was a thick metal door in the back-right corner of the room.

No one spoke as we merged with the crowd, but there was a new ripple of thoughts, most of which were concerned about not just one, but two new masks joining the meeting tonight. I tried to comb through the thoughts, looking for any distinguishing traits, but I was drawn to a normal woman hanging towards the back.

Her essence reeked of fear and desperation that pooled into the room as she tried to hold her thoughts close to her. She had the same mask as everyone else in the room, but she had another mask of confidence and ease that tried to cover everything else festering underneath. I caught glimpses of disgust, at herself and all the other people here, which was equally matched by the hopelessness which had driven her here to begin with. She thought of the promises of a better world, of a comfortable life, and of a cure to her son’s illness. She waged an internal war between her morals and us, and it seems as if we were winning. I wanted to reach out and tip the scales a bit in her mind, noticing the strength of her thoughts as perfect recruit.

Grey’s presence surged into my mind and blocked my current thought. Her tone was sharp as she said, Hunter, you have a target to collect. As quickly as she had appeared, she retreated, and I had control of myself again. She was right, I had gotten distracted from the objective. I moved my mind away from the woman and continued scanning the crowd for signs of the target.

A man jumped on a crate on the opposite side of the wooden door. His mask resembled that of a captain, with an outline of white lips and opened white eyes that covered his own. I could not feel any thoughts or feelings radiating with him as I could with any normal, and as I tried to sense his thoughts, I was met with an eerie silence. I tried to reach into his mind without detection, but I was met thick wall which did not easily crumble as I pushed against it.He was prepared for someone to use influence. This must be the target.

He began to address the crowd as he conjured a broad smile underneath his mask. “I’m happy to see you all back tonight, as well as the two new masks in our midst.” His voice was not muffled by the mask he wore. Did the target also have influence? I tried to reach out to Grey for an answer, but she blocked me with a wave of irritation that was directed at the target.

He continued. “We all have our reasons to don Splinter’s mask tonight, and I would like to begin by saying that our Great Leader appreciates the support you give, the sacrifices you make so that magic can be in everyone’s hands. The history of influence is tainted by its beginning, but we all know that in can do incredible good for the people.”

There were murmurs of agreement throughout the crowd as several people looked around at those standing around them. None of them could even think that two real members of Splinter stood so close to them.

The target lifted his hands and said, “I want to begin this meeting with another story of miracles, to remind you of the cause we are all fighting for.”

Grey’s presence sat in my mind, and I could feel her anger rising as the man continued to speak. I shuffled a little closer to Grey, as she had settled just behind the first row of people. I noted that his words had an oddly compelling quality which encouraged my mind to keep looping back to him. This was the use of influence. I attempted to breach the target’s mind again, this time with a bit more force. I was surprised at the resistance again, especially as he was occupied with his use of influence and telling of his grand story. No normal had this much mastery over his mind and influence naturally, and our target was decidedly not a member of Splinter. So, who was he?

Someone forced the wooden door open, which slammed into the man who had stood by it. A gunshot followed, and the same man fell to the ground, blood dripping from his arm as he clutched it in pain. Three normals in DAI uniforms stormed into the room, guns pointing towards the crowd as one yelled into the stunned silence, “DAI! Nobody move!”

The woman in the center aimed her gun directly on the target as the other two beside her swept the crowd. I didn’t turn around so that I could keep my eyes on the target for his reaction, but I noted there were three other agents in the hall lingering not too far behind. Now, a wave of intense fear wafted from the target as he stood frozen in place.

Grey decided she’d had enough. She spun around to look at the woman who had made the command. One of the agents noticed her and trained his gun on her, saying to the crowd, “You are not to resist your arrest for conspiracy against the government with a known and dangerous terrorist group.”

I felt elation surge through Grey as she pushed her way past two bystanders to directly face the agents. She did appear to be an intimidating woman, currently short with small frame and the blank mask hiding her real identity. “Or what?” she asked.

A second agent pointed her gun at Grey. “Ma’am, step back or we will be forced to shoot.”

As Grey took the attention of the agents, I noticed our target begin to compose himself, his fear dissipating as he replaced his carefully crafted barriers, perhaps even strengthening them. Still, his mind moved fast, and his attention turned to the iron door not a few feet away. He would be waiting for his chance to run.

Grey did not stop, didn’t even flinch as more guns were trained on her. She made it to the edge of crowd and into the small space separating the agents from everyone else. She stopped. And she waited. All eyes were on her as every other normal in the room stood shocked and terrified of what would happen to them.

The center agent dared to open her mouth, probably to demand Grey stand down again, but before she could speak, her jaw snapped shut. Her body stumbled back as she was shoved with an invisible force, knocking into the agent beside her. His immediate reaction was to pull the trigger. Three more bullets followed.

Time froze. Or rather, the millisecond after the bullets left their barrels was stretched and pulled into the space of one second, two seconds, three seconds, and more until I couldn’t register the passing of time. It felt as if time coiled in my brain instead of running linear and pounded against my skull, demanding to be released, but I was not the one holding it still. Grey was.

She had bent the fabric of reality to her will and held that millisecond in between her fingers and waited for the pressure to keep building as thirty seconds, a minute, two minutes passed. The pain in my mind grew louder and louder, almost like screaming behind my ears.

Grey let go, and time snapped back into place, exploding with enough force to shatter the bullets into shrapnel. The metal fragments flew back towards the agents and shredded through their body armor and exposed skin as if they were paper. All six agents fell to the ground, and chaos erupted in the room.


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Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:47 am
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Vincian wrote a review...



Hiya Wolfe! Surpise!! I am on a mission to support my friends' works by reading and reviewing them. I have heard good things about this, from you writing it and sharing about it and from others! I can't wait to start reading this. But first!

A bit about my style of reviewing. I usually focus on plot, the flow of the story, a bit about the characters. I pick out grammar and spelling only sometimes, if I catch it haha. I also love introductions and stuff! I don't mean to be harsh; all of what I say is just my opinions and meant to help. So, please don't take things personally and if it comes off as mean, I do truly apologize! Okay, onto the review!!

Dusk had faded into a starless night as the last of the sunset’s light bled away, replaced by a haze of streetlights.


I quite like this intro! I mentioned it earlier, but I am a stickler for intros. They are the things that can make or break the beginning before it's even had its chance. They also entice the readers and keep them reading.

Now, onto your second sentence.

The city was unrecognizable after dark, the pounding of our feet against the pavement seemingly the only sound for miles.


So, this sentence here should be two sentences. Or, alternatively, you could have a semi-colon here. Now, I do like the idea of a first person story. I haven't read one of those in awhile! I'm excited to see what all this story is about ^^

MAGIC! MAGIC HEISTS?? okay must reaaaad on.

I feel like I'm walking into this story that has a good deal already written and explored. Don't get me wrong! I do love reading a story that feels fleshed out, and this has that! But I feel like there wasn't enough introduction before dropping me, the reader, into this world. Like, there feels like a lot going on that I'm supposed to know already (For example, I barely got introduced to the mc and Grey when there's this person the mc clearly doesn't trust and I'm not supposed to trust. However, I don't even know the mc or Gray just yet). I'd just love to see more of the mc before diving into so many new topics that I'm supposed to keep a track of.

And, done with the chapter! Wow, there was a lot happening here! So much that I had to re-read a couple of times on certain sections. You write wonderfully! I liked the descriptions, especially in the beginning. Some notes:

- There's quite a lot going on here, with not enough set up for me to grasp everything that's happening.

- I feel like I don't know much of anything about the main character, and find out far more about Grey than I do about this protagonist (including the protagonist's name xD)

- There is a mention of a mission but I don't really see anything about it, including what it details, or how this meeting relates to this mission.

So, I would love to see this slow down a bit, or at least before the meeting. Some background on Grey's and the mc's relationship, and some more info on the mc would be incredibly helpful in creating an anchor into the world you're creating and tossing us into. As it stands, we learn very little about everyone before moving onto the next person, before moving onto the next person.

I also recommend splitting this chapter into two parts: one part before the meeting (perhaps dealing with the mission, maybe the mc's apprehension on the mission (just an idea), them finding the way in, etc.) then the meeting. We don't really get much on the DAI, so perhaps that can be put in another chapter and we can increase the runtime of the meeting itself. It would also help immensely if we find out the name of the MC, even if it is in first person, so we can attach a name to the I.

Besides all of that, there's definitely so so much that is enticing to this that begs me to read more. I am super interested in the rest! I hope this has helped and can't wait to read and review the next chapter ^^




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Sat Mar 20, 2021 5:36 am
ForeverYoung299 says...



Hi. You already got many reviews.
So, I will not review it.
Whatever, good job with your first chapter.




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Mon Feb 15, 2021 3:55 am
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mordax wrote a review...



Hi there!

I'm going to be honest and say I haven't looked at any of the other reviews, so if I repeat anything, I apologize. Let's get started!

I loved the opening line. It really hooked me in and was written with beautiful imagery. It set the tone beautifully for what was to come.

I loved this chapter and the concepts it introduced. I already love this Grey character. Overall, there are only a few critiques I have to make.

First off, having a balance between the knowledge the reader holds and the ambiguity the text displays is important in order to captivate the audience. In the case of this chapter, I felt as though there was too much ambiguity in the sense of your concepts, especially the magic.

As this world was new to me, the first reveal of magic in the line:

her face morphed into a mask but not her typical mask.

left me confused. Initially, I wasn't even aware a magical transformation had taken place and I assumed she was simply morphing her expression. As I finished the paragraph, I became aware of the magic. While I think ambiguity in regards to the magical abilities Grey or Hunter may have is important, there is so little context that I am a bit lost whenever magic is used. This is shown later as well when Hunter is using some kind of mind magic where he can sense other's emotions or thought processes. This, too, was sprung out of no where and I think could have been developed more. Same goes for calling those without magic "normals" and so forth. I do love how you incorporate info through action, but I think this chapter could've been drawn out just a bit longer so more context could've been supplied.

My other critique is that I feel that two much is "told" and not "shown". A few examples of this is:
against the backwall, smoking a cigarette.

air felt cold against my skin.

etc... Instead of saying "felt cold" or using the action: "smoking a cigarette" I think both could be shown through descriptors such as how the cold felt against Hunter's skin or how the man smoked his cigarette. Then again, if you chose to write it this way for stylistic purposes, then ignore me.

Lastly, I felt as though the emotions of both the crowds later on and the narrator were not conveyed fully. When the DAI busted this meeting, there was little emotional response. Was this intentional? Along with this, it wasn't until Hunter was within the crowd that his emotional attunement to others was revealed, yet that also goes away when the DAI appears. So, does it only work when he activates it? If so, perhaps show him activating this ability. If not, I would try to keep its use consistent throughout the chapter

Minor suggestions:
She continued down as if the conversation hadn’t happened,

Is she continuing down a ladder or staircase? I would add a bit more description here so it is more clear.
I didn’t turn around so that I could keep my eyes on the target for his reaction,

Instead of saying what the narrator didn't do, I suggest saying what he did. Like: "I remained where I stood..." or something
the edge of crowd

Just a grammar thing, I think you meant "edge of the crowd"

All in all, I am very intrigued by this story and can't wait to see what happens next. I do keep calling Hunter a 'he' and I apologize if Hunter is in fact a 'she'... I guess I will find out, lol.

You are a wonderful writer and if you disagree with any of my suggestions, that is completely fine. I am in no way a professional, and am only here to provide my advice or opinions.

mordax






Thank you so much!! I really appreciate you commenting on the presentation of information because I always struggle with striking a balance between giving enough to be understood but not too much that it feels out of place/like an info dump. Also, as you saw later, the lack of emotions from Hunter was intentional, but I'll definitely try to make it more clear when exactly magic is being used (like when Hunter tunes into the emotions of the crowd). ^^ I really appreciate it.



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ShadowVyper wrote a review...



Wolfe!

I know I'm late to the party and you already have a zillion reviews on this, but in my defense I HAVE had this tab opened for a while and been intending to review it. So, let's get started, I'm excited to see what you have for this story c:

I really like how you opened this story! You give us a lot of intrigue from the start and want to know who the narrator is and who Grey is and what in the world is going on with the masks and the story in general. It's a really good hook and I'm impressed at how quickly you grabbed my attention.

He gave a side glance to Grey as she approached him and puffed out some smoke.


This is a minor critique, but I think you have a little issue here with the subject of the sentence (is that the right word? Not sure, I can't the grammar lol) but basically the way this read to me is that Grey was puffing out the smoke because of the "and" after she approached him. It, like, changed the topic of the sentence to being her and then didn't make sense when you finished it. Like, I got what you were going for. But I think it might read better if you do something like

"He gave a side glance and puffed out some smoke as Grey approached him" or something so that it's clearer who is doing what? Instead of capping both ends of the sentence with his actions?

Grey gave a slow, mocking response as her lips curled into a grin.


I thought the mask didn't let you see the mouth of the person wearing it? And, like, this is being narrated by Hunter not Grey, so he wouldn't know her lips were curling into a grin if he couldn't see it?

He began to address the crowd as he conjured a broad smile underneath his mask.


Ah! Again! You saiddddd there was no mouth in the masks:

It was pure white, had no mouth, but had a place for two blue eyes to peer back at me.


~ ~ ~

Wow! Really amazing first chapter c: I really like how interesting of a story arc you've already lined up for us. Grey seems freaking awesome! Hunter seems cool but more uncertain of himself than she is. I'm super interested to know who this Splinter dude is and why it's so dangerous to be one of his followers. Just a bunch of questions, but not in a bad way. More just makes me want to read on... so I'll do just that ;)

Hope this helped!

~Shady

Also, I know I'm old, but the number of Schadenfreude and Fahrvergnügen that get used get tallied so here are my words, for the cause ;)






Hi!! :D Thanks for the review ^^ Also yes. I did say there way no mouth >:3 And yes, he saw their mouths moving. (tl;dr: magic, which should get explained in later chapters, but lmk if it's not soon enough). Glad you liked it!



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Sun Jan 31, 2021 5:48 pm
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LUNARGIRL wrote a review...



Hello, LUNARGIRL here with a review!
Let's get straight to it.

Dusk had faded into a starless night as the last of the sunset’s light bled away, replaced by a haze of streetlights. The city was unrecognizable after dark, the pounding of our feet against the pavement seemingly the only sound for miles. Grey lead me down abandoned sidewalks and across empty streets until she stopped abruptly.


I really liked the opening to this story and the description you use in the first paragraph.

We stood at the entrance of an unremarkable alleyway, which was partially blocked by a large dumpster. Then, she reached out and touched my cheek. In the time it took to blink, her face morphed into a mask but not her typical mask. It was pure white, had no mouth, but had a place for two blue eyes to peer back at me. I assumed she gave me something similar because she immediately walked into the alley. I followed.


That, just got interesting. You might want to also include a short description of what her normal mast looks like too.

It took about a minute to reach the glow of the doorframe, and as we approached it, I paused to listen. There was complete silence from the other side, but there was an uproar of thought and emotion. There was an energy of excitement and dread as a crowd of people waited for the event to begin. I knocked on the heavy wooden door as Grey had instructed me to.


This is all so mysterious, making my mind wonder about so much.

Her essence reeked of fear and desperation that pooled into the room as she tried to hold her thoughts close to her. She had the same mask as everyone else in the room, but she had another mask of confidence and ease that tried to cover everything else festering underneath. I caught glimpses of disgust, at herself and all the other people here, which was equally matched by the hopelessness which had driven her here to begin with. She thought of the promises of a better world, of a comfortable life, and of a cure to her son’s illness. She waged an internal war between her morals and us, and it seems as if we were winning. I wanted to reach out and tip the scales a bit in her mind, noticing the strength of her thoughts as perfect recruit.


This is a very interesting description of the woman, but I like it.

Someone forced the wooden door open, which slammed into the man who had stood by it. A gunshot followed, and the same man fell to the ground, blood dripping from his arm as he clutched it in pain. Three normals in DAI uniforms stormed into the room, guns pointing towards the crowd as one yelled into the stunned silence, “DAI! Nobody move!”


Lots of action in this story. It is also a very interesting one because you just keep introducing more and more new information. Which is also kind of makes it hard to fallow the story because it is just information that we do not know about this world.

Overall, this is a very interesting story. Again, one thing I have to say is that as you introduce new information you might also want to give us a little information about the charters of what the world is like. Give and take. That is all I have to say though. Can't wait to read what you write next!

Carpe diem,
LUNARGIRL






Thanks for the review! ^^



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Sun Jan 31, 2021 3:59 pm
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hiya, Wolfe! This looks like the beginning of an intriguing story. I like how you paced out the exposition of this sci-fi setting, as well as how you wrote the action in this scene.

Characters

Then, she reached out and touched my cheek.
. . .
Grey pressed her mind against mine and urged me forward.


I get the sense in these first paragraphs that Grey is the more experienced between the two of them, because she seems to be taking the lead and is also more action-focused than Hunter.

Grey also seems very confident, not only in that first bit of dialogue, but also in that epic power reveal towards the end.

I wanted to reach out and tip the scales a bit in her mind, noticing the strength of her thoughts as perfect recruit.


Parts like this made me feel Hunter has ~main character vibes~ because despite seeming inexperienced, they have independent intuitions about what they want/ should do. This gives them conflict with the mentor figure, Grey, which I think is bound to develop.

Plot

None of them could even think that two real members of Splinter stood so close to them.


I do like how this was revealed. It adds a bit of a twist having there be a fake, almost fanclub-esque group emulating Splinter and then Splinter itself.

Setting

This looks to be a sci-fi dystopia almost, with the government able to be "conspired against" and there being cultish vibes from this group. There also seems to be a conflict between those with influence and the normals.

She had bent the fabric of reality to her will and held that millisecond in between her fingers and waited for the pressure to keep building as thirty seconds, a minute, two minutes passed. The pain in my mind grew louder and louder, almost like screaming behind my ears.


I think you did a good job describing how the powers work, despite them being so abstract. That must have been quite a challenge!

Style

I liked the dialogue in this piece! Aside from Grey's lines to the bouncer/ guard person, which are 'acted out' so it makes sense that they're a bit forced, the characters' speech seemed really natural to me and unobtrusive. Even the target's dramatic speech didn't feel too over the top given the context.

Dusk had faded into a starless night as the last of the sunset’s light bled away, replaced by a haze of streetlights.


Just a quick comment on opening lines, since this is a first chapter. I thought this one was a bit hard to read? I get painting a picture of the scene in the reader's head, but I think it would have been more effective if you'd split this sentence into a few simpler, more disgestible ones. Maybe one sentence for 'dusk fading' and another sentence for 'haze of streetlights' (which, by the way, is an image I love).

shredded through their body armor and exposed skin as if they were paper.


I love how visceral this image is. It makes for good payoff after the building of tension in the previous paragraphs.

That's all

Hopefully some of these comments are helpful to you. Keep writing! <3
Cheers,
-Lim






I saw you accidentally commented three times so I deleted the extras for you, haha. Thank you for the review!!! I%u2019m glad you enjoyed it and thank you for the suggestions ^^



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Sun Jan 31, 2021 3:38 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi SpiritedWolfe,

The title caught my eye right away and I immediately asked what the story was about. I think it's good that you immediately lure the reader into reading the story.

The thrill in the chapter was good and you described it well too. I really like the concept of the masks.

It's only the first chapter of course, but some things seem a little confusing for the reader, or at least only to me :D But I suppose since it's only the beginning, the questions that are on my mind right now will be answered in the next chapters like what is DAI or Splinter?

Generally a great start to the story with a good cliffhanger. I look forward to the following chapters.

Mailice.






Thank you for reading! And I this is only the first half of the first chapter, so maybe it will become a little bit more clear what Splinter is by the end of it ^^



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Sun Jan 31, 2021 3:18 pm
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FireEyes wrote a review...



Hello there! Incoming review. I don't really review chapters of books but I'm going to give it a try.

When it comes to the central action of the story, I liked it but things got a little bit confusing at times. Like in the first paragraph when you said,

Grey lead me down abandoned sidewalks and across empty streets until she stopped abruptly.
I could have thought you meant he was following the empty greyness of the streets. I now understand that Grey is a character but maybe you could play around with the word choice so the reader isn't confused right off the back.

Another thing I would like to say is, are Grey and Hunter (I'm pretty sure that's his name) able to read minds or talk telepathically with each other? I'm not used to reading pieces in this style so that might just be me. But I like the concept of the telepathy in this story. It gives a sort of dystopian vibe caused by increased human ability.

If I were to chose one part that I loved it would be when Grey held time still. The way you put it was very original. In lots of "time bending" and "time stopping" everything just stops with now worry of how it affects the space time continuum. Here, Grey is struggling to keep time in it's place aaaaannnd everything is building pressure. I adore how you thought of the after affects it would have. Because this is not actually possible in real life you thought creatively on how things would happen in a way that is believable but also get's your characters out of trouble for the moment.

More plot-wise since this is only the first chapter I don't get a full idea of what Splinter is or what it's motivations or goals are. some lingering questions to solve later on could be, "Why are they wearing the masks?" "Is this a terrorist cult of some kind?" "Who's the DAI?" And other questions. It's not bad at all for your reader to have questions but eventually they will need to be answered later on or else people will get mad. Kinda reminds me of the beginning to Red Dawn. You don't know what's happening and then all of a sudden people are invading! If you haven't seen it don't worry, it's not that important to what I'm saying.

I can't wait to read this story more. Maybe it'll be the first chapter story I follow here on YWS. Great work! Anyway byeeeeeeeeeeeeee!






Thank you for the review! I hadn't thought about the first sentence like that, so I can try to reword it ^^ I certainly hope that all of your questions are answered sooner rather than later, haha. (as in, I hope I presented them well in the later chapters, since I don't want to spoil it all at once!)



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IcyFlame wrote a review...



Hey there friend! In honour of this wonderful review day I've popped my head in to read the first chapter of this :)

Dusk had faded into a starless night as the last of the sunset’s light bled away, replaced by a haze of streetlights. The city was unrecognizable after dark, the pounding of our feet against the pavement seemingly the only sound for miles. Grey lead me down abandoned sidewalks and across empty streets until she stopped abruptly.

This is a beautiful first paragraph. I love how you already start to establish your characters and your description is wonderful. You've already hooked me from the start.

In the time it took to blink, her face morphed into a mask but not her typical mask.

This sentence is slightly off for me. The 'but not her typical mask' sounds rushed. You may need an extra comma in there somewhere.

I assumed she gave me something similar because she immediately walked into the alley.

I didn't quite follow this part but I'm going to assume it was made to be deliberately vague and carry on!

“Even the police are too scared of Splinter to come out at night.”

Ooh I love the suspense here. I don't quite understand why the man is so shaken at her response here though. He brought up the conversation, and nothing about what Grey has said seems to be very threatening.

but I was drawn to a normal woman hanging towards the back.

If she's so normal, why is the character drawn to them? Is she normal in amongst those who are not, or is does she just appear normal to the untrained eye. It seemed odd to describe her as normal and then talk about her second mask. Wonderful description of her though.

Three normals in DAI uniforms stormed into the room, guns pointing towards the crowd as one yelled into the stunned silence, “DAI! Nobody move!”

I have to assume these aren't police based on the comment Grey made earlier, but the acronym is confusing when we don't know what it stands for.

The last section of this part is very fast paced, an interesting contrast from the beginning! It's a little choppy as LittleLee pointed out below but for the most part it works. The part where time seems to freeze works really well in slowing down the action and allowing the reader to catch up with it all.

shredded through their body armor and exposed skin as if they were paper.

This is such good description!

I think for me that's definitely your strongest element in this chapter and goes a long way to create mystery and curiosity. I'm interested to see where you take this story!

Hope this review was helpful for you :)

Icy






Thank you for the review! :) I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, and thank you for the suggestions. I also totally see what you're saying about the "normal woman" description, because I hadn't thought about it. I'll have to rephrase it (since "a normal" was meant to be a term for someone without influence, haha).



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Sun Jan 31, 2021 6:16 am
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LittleLee wrote a review...



Hey, Wolfe!

Crikey, it's been AGES since I last reviewed anything. Forgive me if I slip up a little!

So, the review. I actually have very little criticism to give, this was wonderful to read.

The title is intriguing enough to pull readers in; it's ambiguous and could be referring to a whole bunch of things. And then right after that, we have the first paragraph. It begins with a beautiful description of the sunset, which immediately asserts your skill, and the rest of it makes an excellent hook!

The masks immediately caught my attention; I can see how they are very significant to the story, and later you've shown that these masks help hide thoughts and emotions. It's a very cool concept.

Grey gave a slow, mocking response as her lips curled into a grin.

Now I'm a bit confused, because if she's wearing a mask the narrator can't see her face to know she's smiling. Unless these masks aren't literal masks? But you said they hid the face completely, so...

Yeah, that's the only thing I found odd. There are a couple of choppy sentences, too, like:
Someone forced the wooden door open, which slammed into the man who had stood by it. A gunshot followed, and the same man fell to the ground, blood dripping from his arm as he clutched it in pain.

where there's nothing wrong about it so much as it isn't very smooth. I'd look over the story again to smooth these bumps over.

Well, I'm very intrigued! There seems to be a new, refreshing and original magic system of sorts at play here, and there's some definitive worldbuilding too. I'd love to see where this story goes, what/who Splinter is, and what "normals" are. Oh, and I want to learn about influence, too. Off I go to read the rest of your story!

This was a good beginning for me, I think! I enjoyed writing the review and feel a bit more relaxed now. Anyway, see you!

- Lee






Hi! Thank you so much for your review ^^ I really appreciate it! This was my NaNo novel so thanks for pointing out the parts that could use another look over :) Also, I can see why it would be confusing when I described Grey%u2019s face under the mask, but that was an intentional detail! It%u2019s because of their magic, which I believe gets explained a bit later (maybe in a different chapter). Do you think that%u2019s okay or should I give more hints earlier? Maybe more than one occasion when this happens?



LittleLee says...


If it's explained later, then no problem! Just be sure the audience understands why and how this works the way it does.




It's a dramatic situation almost every time you answer the phone—if you answer the phone.
— Matthew Weiner