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16+ Violence

MTOHS - Chapter 1.2

by SpiritedWolfe


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

Wordcount: 2383

The target bolted off his pedestal and shoved past a few normals in his way. I followed just as quickly, easily moving between normals to not lose any ground. Just before the target reached the door, a quiet click signaled the iron door unlocking, allowing the man to throw it open when he reached it. I used influence to pin the door to the wall so I wouldn’t lose any time.

I felt Grey on my heels. She slammed and barred the door behind her as we started our sprint up a new set of stairs. Her presence was incredibly calm and composed compared to the chaotic energy emanating from the crowd of normals below.

At the top of the stairs, I caught a glimpse of the target fleeing down an unlit corridor that forked off a few feet in front of him. Wild waves of panic mingled with the pounding of his feet as he realized he was being pursued. I channeled the feeling of influence around me and burst forward with inhuman speed, covering the few feet separating us with ease.

Before he could choose a path to run down, I grabbed his arm and threw him into the wall in front of us. His head hit the stone with a crack, and his mask flew off his face and skidded several feet away. I reached up and pinned him to the wall by his neck, staring directly into his brown eyes quivering in fear. A trickle of blood drizzled down his face from his temple, and his left arm hung limply at his side. He didn’t resist, only stared back at me.

Grey caught up to me and stood beside me. An air of smugness wafted from her as her mask began to change. A pair of soft pink lips appeared, and the white eyes filled out with a pale shade of blue. Beside the left eye, a dark red star formed, and streaks of same red dripped down her cheek before it transformed into a brilliant orange streak by her jaw. She wore the mask of an Admiral and had the authoritative presence to accompany it.

After, she turned to me and returned my Captain mask, which had sealed white lips, green eyes, and three glowing claw marks that stretched from the right ear all the way down to the mouth.

At Grey’s appearance, I let go of him and he crumbled to the floor. He weakly lifted his head and croaked out, “Where… where’s Cobalt?”

“You’re not asking questions now,” Grey spat. It wasn’t often that Grey was riled up, but her composure melted away to a sea of seething anger as she watched the target wither under her gaze.

Recognition lit up his eyes as he sputtered, “You must be Grey.”

She bent down and grabbed his limp arm. I felt a shift of reality, and the man quickly regained the feeling in his arm. She looked him right in the face and said, “You are not to speak unless spoken to. You will follow me, and if you attempt anything, Hunter will not hesitate to kill you. Do I make myself clear?” He regained his composure, rubbed his neck, and nodded.

“I repeat. Do I make myself clear?

He looked defeated. “Yes, ma’am.” Satisfied, she started off. I grabbed the target by his shirt and lifted him up with ease. He must have been three or four inches taller than me and physically larger, but in the moment, I had complete control of the situation. He bit his lip from rising frustration as the sheer panic dissipated. Before we left, I made sure to grab his mask off the floor.

Grey lead us out of the corridors into a massive storage section of a warehouse before eventually finding her way out through a different side entrance. We found ourselves back in the alleyway in which we first entered and found the trap door left opened and unmanned. I could still sense rogue emotions of shock and panic from that direction.

As we walked in the street, there was a distant wail of sirens, likely coming to investigate the sudden silence of the first agents. Grey did not have any urgency in her walk, however, as she had likely anticipated the events of the night. The target, however, simply wanted to disappear into the night and be anywhere except here. His eyes moved around quickly, trying to examine every shadow as we passed it. He fidgeted with his hands as he walked, clearly uncomfortable.

We walked for about five minutes in complete silence, leaving the sounds of the city behind. I noticed that the massive buildings that once towered over us had seemingly transformed into a dark, winding road. A sea breeze whipped across my face, bringing a salty smell to my nose. There was nothing around except a few small, near abandoned buildings along some unstable looking docks. It was completely dark out, not even a moon reflecting off the still water.

Grey moved stepped up on a pier that continued out over the water fifty feet or so. The black of her hood blended into the darkness, emphasizing the whiteness of her mask. She looked back at the target and me. The target continued to follow her order and kept his lips pursed shut. Even his rising amount of resistance did not cloud his better judgment as he could sense that there was something more serious to come of the ordeal. Then suddenly, his mental walls fortified themselves as he gave me a glare.

“You are his subordinate,” she said to the man, the irritation from earlier lightened, even if her words were still terse. “Hunter can read your mind as he likes. And pretty soon your walls won’t mean anything.” As if on cue, her head snapped back towards the end of the harbor, and she started down it. I pushed the target to encourage him forward, and he went after her. I followed up.

The air had stilled completely as we walked, almost silencing the creaking of our footsteps on wood. Even though I used influence to see around my black hood and mask, the darkness suddenly felt heavier and cloudier. With each step, a heavier and heavier presence closed in around me. It was not threatening to me, but almost the equivalent of comforting.

Once we were several feet from the edge, I noticed what looked to be the night rippling in the still air. Then, a white mask appeared and turned to us with brilliant golden eyes and bleeding red lips. The lips curled into a smile as the outline of a man wearing a black suit and black cape appeared in my mind. I fell to one knee and bowed my head.

Grey also gave a respectful nod of her head as she acknowledged our Great Leader. They had a brief exchange of words that I could not hear before she stepped to take her rightful place by his side. Then his powerful gaze fell upon me, his golden eyes filling me with warmth and admiration towards him.

Thank you for your service, Hunter, he said as his words were placed directly into my mind, capturing every ounce of my attention. Your skills will be further required. Meanwhile, simply witness what unfolds before you. I stood back up at the command of my Leader and carefully watched the target, who could no longer keep himself from trembling. He had sunk to his knees from Grey’s influence and continued to kneel, completely immobilized in his makeshift bow.

Finally, our Leader’s bothered to look at the shuddering man before him. His red lips pursed in a fine line before they finally opened, and words drifted out. “I cannot say that I am disappointed. By leaving you free will, I expected you would eventually make a mistake.” The man flinched, as if the words inflicted physical pain on him. His chest heaved as he kept his eyes at our Leader’s feet, too terrified to lift his gaze higher.

Our Leader continued in a calm, yet stern voice. “However, I did not expect you to be so brash with your freedom.”

There was another brief pause of silence.

“Show some respect,” Grey hissed. Then, the target’s head snapped up quickly with a crack, and he winced in pain as he locked eyes with the mask of our Leader. Fear and pain laced his energy as he sat, helpless.

Our Leader placed a hand on Grey’s shoulder and said in a soothing voice only partially directed to her, “Relax, Grey. Eric and I were simply having a civil discussion. Weren’t we, Eric?”

Eric, the apparent name of the target, nodded along numbly, only partially of his own volition. It struck me as odd that he had a name and was also acquainted with our Leader. My thoughts were deemed much less important as the Leader’s red lips turned into a smirk and he spoke again.

“Good. I do not believe I have been unreasonable now or ever before. Did you think so when we organized our deal?”

A quiet sigh. “No, Master.”

“Was the deal unclear to you?”

The target shifted his gaze away before quickly replacing it. “… No, Master.”

“Then, explain to me why you killed two of my Captains.” Grey’s energy surged as another wave of anger rushed over her, mingling with the intensity of our Leader’s presence. I saw the scene as it replayed vividly in her mind: two Captains with mangled masks, skin stained crimson from their own blood as it poured out of their wounds. Their necks and chests had dozens of bullet holes, killing them almost immediately before they could react. Those were some of Grey’s Captains, people she had trained and looked after for years. Her thoughts were fueled by grief and vengeance on the person responsible for their death. The person kneeling before us now.

The target began to stutter out, “I… I didn’t have any choice. They were going to kill my team. They were going to kill me! Your ‘deal’ doesn’t mean anything if I’m dead.”

Our Leader gave a mock sad smile, as if he were looking down upon an unreasonable child. “You were concerned for your safety, were you? After you explicitly disobeyed an order not to take on the mission, an order which would have kept you perfectly safe.”

A flash of resistance appeared in the man as he stared up at our Leader. “I am an agent. I have a responsibility to—”

“You are a double agent,” our Leader snapped, his voice growing darker as he spoke. “You are only an agent as long as I say you are an agent. You are a tool. Simply a means to an end, and if you do not follow your orders, you are easy to replace. I know of at least one other agent just as capable as you.” The man shrank into his skin at the threat.

“And if you so much as think of using your influence against another member of Splinter,” Grey growled, her voice pinched, “I will personally ensure that your final moments of thought will be the most painful experience you will never have the pleasure to forget.”

Our Leader replaced his smile on his mask, and his golden eyes glinted with a hint of satisfaction as he continued. “Remember that you are a part of Splinter. You are owned by Splinter. You wear the brand of Splinter on every act you take because you not only work for me, but you are owned by me. However, I am capable of benevolence, and you are worth more to me than this mistake. I will not take your life tonight.”

The man’s eyes grew wide as relief flooded his body. He threw his torso on the ground and groveled as he exhaled a string of thanks, tension radiating out of his body as he felt more secure of his fate.

As this went on, our Leader called me to attention and filled my mind with his order. Teach the man the consequences of disobeying an order and bringing harm to a member of Splinter. Do not hold back, as what can be broken can easily be repaired. Grey listened as he spoke to me, and a smile crept onto her face.

At that, his business was completed, and our Leader turned away to look out over the dock. His black cape rippled and faded into the dark night, allowing him to vanish as abruptly as he had appeared. Grey and I were left with the kneeling man, who had not yet noticed the departure of his interrogator.

Grey reveled in looking down upon the man and delivering the bad news that his night was not yet finished. She spoke with acid in her voice, saying, “But you still must pay for those you killed.”

The man glared at her, courage building in him now that he saw our Leader had left. He held his hands against the ground and staggered to his feet. His attention was focused on Grey, having since forgotten I was still standing a few feet behind him. My fingers snuck down to the large knife sheathed in my belt.

He stood up and looked directly at Grey, opening his mouth to speak but then deciding against it as he reestablished his mind with influence. I sensed his attention turning back to me, but before he could act, I grabbed his shoulder with one hand, unsheathed the knife with the other, and stabbed him in his lower back down to the hilt.

The target cried out in a mix of pain and shock, trying to turn around to fight me, but I pulled the knife out and inserted it into his back again, just a couple of inches lower. Dark red soaked his gray t-shirt as blood spurted out of his wound. His legs wobbled as he began losing a lot of blood, and I took the opportunity to push all my influence against his mind until his barriers shuttered against the weight. I easily broke into his mind and completely occupied it, blocking out any voluntary thought.

The target crumbled to his knees. 


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Mon Aug 02, 2021 2:48 am
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Mea wrote a review...



Hi Wolfe! I'm finally back for another review. Hopefully future reviews won't be quite so spaced out.

Okay, so first off, a couple reader reactions in no particular order:
- The changing masks are super cool, though I don't really understand how they work — are they illusions or is the material actually morphing? Can Eric's mask morph like that or is it just the non-normals'?
- Wow, that got violent by the end. Suffice it to say I'm a bit sickened and the sooner Hunter gets away from this Leader and this whole Splinter organization the better. Super do not like the vibes he is giving off, with the owning and the mind control and everything.
- I feel like I should feel bad for Grey because of how Eric killed her Captains and clearly she feels genuine grief for that, but I don't really because she still seems like a bit of a faceless agent of the Splinter. I don't have much sense of her character outside of that.
- Hunter is still not very present, though now that I understand that's deliberate it works a lot better. I almost wonder if that should be presented upfront, either with Hunter commenting on whatever happened to cause his detached state in a super unemotional way, or spoiling whatever it is as part of the blurb of the back of the book. Or maybe I'm missing my guess about something specific having happened to him lol.

My other thoughts can mainly be summed up as that I found this chapter a bit hard to follow in several places, mostly during the fight at the beginning and then the walk to meet with the Leader. Because we haven't gotten an explanation of influence, it can be hard for me to tell exactly what influence is doing versus what other stuff is not related to influence (the masks are my biggest question mark on this point, I'm really curious as to how they work).

By the way, I really like the descriptions of the different masks. They're vibrant and often disturbing, which feels fitting for this group. Seriously creepy, but cool.

“You are his subordinate,” she said to the man, the irritation from earlier lightened, even if her words were still terse.

This is a nitpick, but up until this point, there hadn't been any hint that the man was part of the Splinter organization, so I was pretty confused as to why she was saying Hunter was his superior, especially when it didn't seem like Hunter even knew the guy's name. With the context of the rest of the chapter, I'm now assuming that this guy is fairly low-ranked and Hunter is fairly high-ranked, which makes Hunter his superior without having to directly know him, but I didn't get that from the initial line. I think saying "You are still his subordinate" in there or something similar would go a long way to clarify.

I've noticed that in other places — where you're working in exposition, but because of the wording or context it wound up more confusing than intended. Another example is when Grey changes her mask to be an Admiral mask. When I first read it, I didn't understand that she was an Admiral and that was her rightful mask. For some reason I thought she was trying to impersonate an Admiral instead.

And another nitpick, it seemed in the beginning like Hunter had broken the man's arm when he threw him against the wall, but then later you describe the man as fidgeting while he walks without any apparent pain.

This review wound up being a bit more nitpicky than I intended, and I think that's just because I found the prose a bit clunky in parts, but I really liked the content as a reader. I'm feeling a little short on my concrete understanding of the world and hoping for explanations soon, but I feel like you've absolutely nailed the grim, techie, dystopian tone. I'm excited to read more!




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Sat Jun 19, 2021 6:30 am
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Vincian wrote a review...



Hiii Wolfe! Back for the second part! This might be a short review.

The target bolted off his pedestal and shoved past a few normals in his way.


Ahh, yes, the normals and the... I'm not sure if there's been a term for the not-normals yet (queers??) influencers! Yes we are all just a bunch of normals around influencers.

I used influence to pin the door to the wall so I wouldn’t lose any time.


I wonder: what's your reasoning for italicizing influence like you have been? I get that it's a sort of magic system here, but I also think it pulls a lot of attention after the first few times to that word. After a bit, even after this first chapter part, we get influence.

However, I definitely don't understand the rules of influence just yet. At first, I thought that it was just something that influenced emotions and feelings, like real life influence. Magical persuasion. But, my whole world opened up when Hunter (Hunter? I definitely missed MC's name in the first chapter, mb) used influence to enhance his speed to not just fast speeds, but incredibly fast speeds. Are there drawbacks to this magic?

His head hit the stone with a crack,


Oh, he's dead. Like, dead dead. Hunter, you split his head open!!

After, she turned to me and returned my Captain mask


When did Hunter lose their mask? Also, this whole mask stuff is pretty confusing.

At Grey’s appearance, I let go of him and he crumbled to the floor. He weakly lifted his head and croaked out, “Where… where’s Cobalt?”


I recommend putting this before the previous paragraph.

I felt a shift of reality,


So is influence reality shifting? Was that how Hunter was able to do what they did? That's a powerful... power. Looking forward to seeing what drawbacks there are from this power.

By leaving you free will, I expected you would eventually make a mistake.”


So, this person (Eric) was a follower of this Leader person beforehand? And then he was allowed to step away (given free will, yeesh this sounds like a cult), he took advantage and started trying to make power for himself?

--

Okay, gosh, this is going fast. I'm happy that this chapter explained a bit more, but I still have a lot of confusion and questions. I think I still stand by what I said in my last review that this could be aided by making the premise for the beginning a bit simpler; less factors in play amidst the chaos. Or perhaps more set up that explains the scenario a bit more. I do like the obvious lore that was in this, and the history. I think there could be more worldbuilding in the scenery here (there was just a sentence or two describing the landscape before the docks, which I feel is a missed opportunity).

I can't wait to see more about the Masks, the Legion, and the powerset that is influence. Hope this helped!






Thank you for the review! A couple of other people have also mentioned being a bit confused with all the masks, so I've got some editing to do there. I think I'll take your advice in the future and add a buffer scene to explain some of the more expositiony stuff, like the masks, before we get into the action with Eric. But the main idea is that throughout the first chapter, Grey has disguised herself and Hunter as "normals" using her influence, but at the start of this chapter she removes those disguises and gives herself and Hunter their correct masks that signify their rank. I'll explain it better later, hopefully! But if not, I'll edit it in.

Also! Grey was using influence when she shattered the bullets in the first half of the chapter, so influence can do a lot of things!!! And Grey is much much stronger than Hunter is.



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Mon Feb 15, 2021 4:26 am
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mordax wrote a review...



mordax back again!! Let's get started...

So, I loved this chapter more so than the first, honestly. I am beginning to get a better grasp on how their magic, or influence, works. I still have so many questions, but I'm sure they will be answered over time.

As for any critiques, here you go:

I felt a shift of reality, and the man quickly regained the feeling in his arm.

This is less of a critique and more of a question: How does Hunter know this? I am under the impression that he can see into minds, yet does that also allow him to have a sense of their physical feelings, and if so, then when he stabs Eric later on, does he feel the pain Eric feels?

Grey moved stepped

I believe you typoed here? Maybe you meant for it to be just moved or just stepped.

a heavier and heavier presence

This here felt a bit redundant. I would maybe describe the presence as more enshrouding or like a heavy blanket? Instead, this description left me under the impression that it was suffocating until you flipped and described it as being a comfort. This also ties in with the whole "show don't tell", which I think could be applied a lot throughout this chapter, such as when you describe things with the words, "I felt" etc. Instead, I would suggest describing the feelings with more imagery

It struck me as odd that he had a name and was also acquainted with our Leader.

Another question: Hunter and Grey both have names, yes? So I was a bit confused by this. That is, unless Hunter and Grey are not names but aliases, which is entirely possible. No need to answer this question if it is going to be answered later on. This is just me writing down my thoughts.

“I will personally ensure that your final moments of thought will be the most painful experience you will never have the pleasure to forget.”

I love this line so much. Wonderful writing.

Our Leader replaced his smile on his mask,

This is both a critique and a question. Let's start with the question: So, are their facial expressions displayed on the masks they wear? If so, do they even have faces or is it all masks? That being said, up until this point, I had just assumed that any expressions were made by a face beneath a mask, so this completely flipped my mindset. I would suggest implying the answers to these questions earlier on (you don't have to say it explicitly) just so that it is more clear as to what the audience should be visualizing.

These are my direct critiques, but besides this, the only other thing I have to comment on his Eric's emotional range. I was a bit confused by it, to be honest. It seems obvious that these characters are not the typical humans, but that being said, do they still have the typical human emotions? Because if Eric knew Grey and Hunter were with this Leader, then why was his fear not apparent until the Leader was present and threatening him? This Leader seems to have a reputation for violence, so Eric only displaying discomfort early on seems unrealistic.

Hunter is intriguing me, though. His emotions also seem very muted, which I'm assuming is intentional. I'm wondering if that attributes to some kind of control the Leader has over him or if that is just the character. Along with that, if it is the latter, I would perhaps insert a few more thoughts from Hunter in regards to what is happening because his utter lack of personal feedback is a bit alarming. Although, maybe that was intentional, in which case, ignore me. I'm excited to find out how he got sucked into this violent crew and what Grey's connection to it all is.

Wonderful writing!!

mordax






I honestly forgot about the name comment, and it actually is important but I've just realized that I never explained it in the novel <.< Which is no good xD Also, the masks is another thing I could be more clear about because I did make a lot of comments about seeing what people are doing under their masks: because of their magic, Hunter can see under people's masks so he knows their actual expression (I try to clarify the magic much better in chapter 3!). However, the Leader's mask is physically moving. Hunter can't see the Leader's face, but the Leader's expressions are moving on his mask like a real face. Also, I definitely hope that Eric's reactions here become a bit more clear later (again, chapter 3!) but do come back and let me know if his characterization here still doesn't make much sense. When I first drafted this, he was a bit of a throwaway character that accidentally became important. Thank you again!



mordax says...


Oh that thing about the masks makes a lot of sense!! And sounds good. I did see that Eric is Rachel%u2019s boyfriend. Exciting!!!



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Sun Jan 31, 2021 7:55 pm
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LUNARGIRL wrote a review...



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

The target bolted off his pedestal and shoved past a few normals in his way. I followed just as quickly, easily moving between normals to not lose any ground. Just before the target reached the door, a quiet click signaled the iron door unlocking, allowing the man to throw it open when he reached it. I used influence to pin the door to the wall so I wouldn’t lose any time.


You use the word normals twice in the first two sentences which makes it feel a little repetitive. You might want to change that, but that is just my opinion.

At the top of the stairs, I caught a glimpse of the target fleeing down an unlit corridor that forked off a few feet in front of him. Wild waves of panic mingled with the pounding of his feet as he realized he was being pursued. I channeled the feeling of influence around me and burst forward with inhuman speed, covering the few feet separating us with ease.


Why did you italicize the word influence in it. It also sounded a little weird when you said "I channeled the feeling of influence around me."

“You are a double agent,” our Leader snapped, his voice growing darker as he spoke. “You are only an agent as long as I say you are an agent. You are a tool. Simply a means to an end, and if you do not follow your orders, you are easy to replace. I know of at least one other agent just as capable as you.” The man shrank into his skin at the threat.


Here again you italicized the word double agent. It is also probably not best to tell people they are a tool ever though you are going to kill them. Eventually people who work for him will realize they are also a tool, and can be easily eliminated.

Overall, I fell like the story is moving to fast. You need to slow down the action, because so much stuff is happening, but the reader still does not know why are what their world or charters are like. There is so much action in it that it is hard to keep up with whats happening when you don't know anything about the organization I think is called Splinter or something. Can't wait to read what you write next!

Carpe diem,
LUNARGIRL






Thanks for the review ^^ Eric isn't going to die! The Leader is just making sure he knows his place, and I wanted to show the Leader's disrespect for the people working for him. I hope that the next few chapters will feel a bit slower and can give some more context about Splinter and what they're like :)



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Sun Jan 31, 2021 7:23 pm
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ShadowVyper wrote a review...



Wolfe!

I'm back again, as promised! I'm really excited to know what happens next, after that lovely cliffhanger you left us with in the last part. Let's get started...

I used influence to pin the door to the wall so I wouldn’t lose any time.


It's not super clear to me why you're italicizing the word influence. Like, I get you want it to be clear that "influence" is a magical ability not just interpreted as the normal word influence, it just... idk, it's starting to stand out to me -- in not a great way -- how many times you use the word since it's italicized every time? I don't know what I suggest as an alternative... maybe capitalize it? Not sure. I just thought I'd toss that out there since I noticed it.

but in the moment, I had complete control of the situation.


Excuse me, Hunter, I think you mean Grey has control of this situation xD

I grabbed his shoulder with one hand, unsheathed the knife with the other, and stabbed him in his lower back down to the hilt.


Oh hecc Hunter be more of a hard-butt than I thought.

~ ~ ~

O o f

You really ramped up the violence in this chapter, made it a lot more intimate, and I kind of dig it xD I was soooo uncomfortable reading that last part and kept squirming, so great job there haha. It's always the mark of excellent prose to make me cringe when I'm reading violence lol

I also really like how you tied this chapter up nice and neatly! It felt like a really natural place to end, and I'm interested to know if the poor target has any more abuse coming to him. I'm also curious to know what this mysterious Splinter is supposed to be and know more about your world and gahhhh in short: I am hooked xD

I can tell this is going to be an excellent story (dumpsterfire chapters and all <3) and I'm excited to see where you take it. Feel free to add me to your taglist when you post more chapters, if you'd like! ^-^

~Shady

P.S. Schadenfreude and Fahrvergnügen






Thank you again!! ... and yes I do italicize the word influence every time it's used in context of the magic. I liked being a little extra about it? But if you still hate it after a few chapters, that's also something that can change xD



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FireEyes wrote a review...



Hello there! Incoming review!

Wow, this is a great continuation of the first chapter but it has a different, good feel. I often think in colours. While the first part was like a pale chartreuse suggesting light from a dim glowing lightbulb, this one was much more like slate, suggesting lots of grey area in the characters. I like how I don't know what to think about Splinter. They seem like they are fighting for a worthy cause but we don't know it and at the same time they are harsh with their discipline. I think you have some great dialogue like,

Our Leader continued in a calm, yet stern voice. “However, I did not expect you to be so brash with your freedom.”

There was another brief pause of silence.

“Show some respect,” Grey hissed. Then, the target’s head snapped up quickly with a crack, and he winced in pain as he locked eyes with the mask of our Leader. Fear and pain laced his energy as he sat, helpless.

Our Leader placed a hand on Grey’s shoulder and said in a soothing voice only partially directed to her, “Relax, Grey. Eric and I were simply having a civil discussion. Weren’t we, Eric?”
I would also like to point out the next sentence,
It struck me as odd that he had a name and was also acquainted with our Leader.
I like how ignorant Hunter is about Eric. He assumed Eric was nameless. I don't know if namelessness is common in this universe but dang, have some respect Hunter.

Now onto some critiques I have. I think this story could benefit greatly from having a Holes like approach to it. During the book we get periodic flash backs to 100 years ago to explain how Camp Green Lake came to be. I would love to get more information on how things got to be like this. If you had a plan for later on in the story you can go with that. Just saying from the parts we have so far, I think some backstory would help. I hope when I read more of this we get to understand more what influence is because I'm a little bit lost. I would think it would be like the force to an extent. Some people have it and some don't.

One other critique I have is to make who's talking more defined. We have three people talking in a conversation like thing. Now, just tagging on, "Grey said," would get monotonous very fast. But maybe if you read it over after being away from the work for a while you can find some parts that may need labeling. Since you have been away from the writing you can get a fresh pair of eyes to it.

There was one part where I was thoroughly confused and it was this,
Grey caught up to me and stood beside me. An air of smugness wafted from her as her mask began to change. A pair of soft pink lips appeared, and the white eyes filled out with a pale shade of blue. Beside the left eye, a dark red star formed, and streaks of same red dripped down her cheek before it transformed into a brilliant orange streak by her jaw. She wore the mask of an Admiral and had the authoritative presence to accompany it.
Do the masks change or are these people have mechanical faces that change when needed? I don't understand this very well so maybe you could explain what you were going for? Other than those things this second part to the chapter was phenomenal.

One small part that I found interesting is when you mentioned the colour grey, you spelled it, "g-r-a-y," I liked that. If you were to use the Canadian spelling like I do, you would have to just keep it lowercased. But you changed the spelling to differentiate it from our character, Grey.

Great story! I will defiantly be following along with the adventures of Grey and Hunter. Keep writing! Anyway byeeeeeeeeeeee!






Thank you again for your review ^^ I'm happy to hear you're still enjoying it, and now that I think about it, I may need to include a bit more backstory sooner in the novel. That's a good idea :) (It's hard to find a point early on, though, because there is a lot of action to start). Also, the the "face changing" description, that's also another use of influence! I tried to make it clear in the first chapter that Grey gave both Hunter and herself a disguise to not stand out in the gathering, but now she's removing the disguise to her true appearance. I'll edit it to make it more clear :)



FireEyes says...


Ohh that makes more sense. And I could tell that the need to start it off with action was kind of essential to grab the reader.



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Sun Jan 31, 2021 6:15 pm
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IcyFlame wrote a review...



Hey hey I'm back again!!

As we left the last section on a cliff-hanger, I'm eager to jump back in and see what happens next!

The target bolted off his pedestal and shoved past a few normals in his way.

Ah I see, so when your character noticed a normal woman in the previous section, was that because they call them all normals? Or people who aren't involved with the whole mysterious (TM) thing?

Just before the target reached the door, a quiet click signaled the iron door unlocking, allowing the man to throw it open when he reached it. I used influence to pin the door to the wall so I wouldn’t lose any time.

This paragraph reads without much sense of urgency. I'm not sure if that was intentional, but where your character is so calm, we're seeing a lot of the action slowed down and for me the pace might need to be picked up a bit here.

The next paragraph starts to pick up a little, until Grey's calming presence is described. Perhaps that line could be saved for later?

She wore the mask of an Admiral and had the authoritative presence to accompany it.

After, she turned to me and returned my Captain mask, which had sealed white lips, green eyes, and three glowing claw marks that stretched from the right ear all the way down to the mouth.

This is such an interesting concept! I love how you're giving us really small snippets of information about the masks because every time you do the picture in my head changes and it makes me want to keep reading to learn what on earth is going on!

I'm interested to learn that Grey seems to be known, or at least in these circles. It makes me think we've got a good backstory coming at some point in the future!

He bit his lip from rising frustration as the sheer panic dissipated.

How does Hunter know it's from frustration rather than panic?

We walked for about five minutes in complete silence, leaving the sounds of the city behind. I noticed that the massive buildings that once towered over us had seemingly transformed into a dark, winding road. A sea breeze whipped across my face, bringing a salty smell to my nose. There was nothing around except a few small, near abandoned buildings along some unstable looking docks. It was completely dark out, not even a moon reflecting off the still water.

Wonderful description, as usual. You're really bringing this whole scene to life.

Thank you for your service, Hunter, he said as his words were placed directly into my mind, capturing every ounce of my attention. Your skills will be further required. Meanwhile, simply witness what unfolds before you. I stood back up at the command of my Leader and carefully watched the target, who could no longer keep himself from trembling. He had sunk to his knees from Grey’s influence and continued to kneel, completely immobilized in his makeshift bow.

Oh, so is this how he converses with everyone? That's cool!

The man’s eyes grew wide as relief flooded his body. He threw his torso on the ground and groveled as he exhaled a string of thanks, tension radiating out of his body as he felt more secure of his fate.

I must admit, I'm still kind of waiting for something bad to happen to him. I mean, they took him all that way for nothing? Surely not.

As this went on, our Leader called me to attention and filled my mind with his order. Teach the man the consequences of disobeying an order and bringing harm to a member of Splinter. Do not hold back, as what can be broken can easily be repaired. Grey listened as he spoke to me, and a smile crept onto her face.

Ah I knew it! But I don't understand how Grey can hear the conversation if the words are being placed directly into Hunter's head? Or are they all telepathic?

Only a little nitpick for the end but I would avoid starting those last two paragraphs the same way as it lost impact for me a bit! Other than that though a strong first chapter with plenty of questions that need to be answered! It's established your characters well and I look forward to reading more of this one :)

Icy






Thank you again for the review! ^^ I definitely see what you're saying about slowing down action, and I'll work on that! And I hope that the questions get answered in a timely manner, haha. :)



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Sun Jan 31, 2021 5:57 pm
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quitecontrary wrote a review...



Hello and Happy Review Day!

I don't have tons of experience writing novels, but I do have experience reading them, so if anything's a little unclear just let me know :)

I'll start first with grammar/word choice:

We found ourselves back in the alleyway in which we first entered and found the trap door left opened and unmanned.

You used "found" twice; You could get rid of the first one by just saying "We were back in the same alleyway as before..." Generally when you write action scenes you tend to draw them out and use wordy sentences, so anything you can do to make it read faster will help.
Grey moved stepped up on a pier that continued out over the water fifty feet or so.

Either use "moved" or "stepped up", you might have missed that when you wrote it.
“I cannot say that I am disappointed. By leaving you free will, I expected you would eventually make a mistake.”

I think "giving" instead of "leaving" works better here. Also does this mean Splinter can take away your free will? I'm not sure exactly how influence or the magic system works yet, so you might want to clarify that.
You wear the brank of Splinter on every act you take because you not only work for me, but you are owned by me.

Rank instead of "brank".

Reading through, the dialogue definitely felt forced in some spots, especially whenever Grey talks.
“I will personally ensure that your final moments of thought will be the most painful experience you will never have the pleasure to forget.”

To me, it feels like she spends a lot of time planning what she says, which might be in character for her since Eric did kill her captains. There are other moments too when it sounds like she wrote out her sentences before saying them, but other than that the rest of your dialogue is much more realistic. There are parts when I felt like Splinter was leaning a little too heavily on drama, but I think if you added arm guestures/other movement into the scene it would seem more realistic than just four people frozen in the same position. Little things, like a breeze when someone is talking, also help give a scene more life.

As for characterization, it seems just a little too stereotyped for me. We see everything through Hunter's eyes, but he almost never flashes back to a moment in the past or sees faults in any other characters except Eric. Giving Grey a little more characterization, like a limp from where she was once injured or a slight bookish accent would make her feel more real, especially since (I think) Hunter knew her before this mission. Same goes for Splinter too; he's not just a stereotypical bad guy who likes being bad, there's probably a reasoning to his madness. Anything to make him seem more rational would give him more character.

One thing I wondered while reading your story was how many people are part of Splinter? There's at least two ranks that we know of, and there is clearly a need for organization, but I can't tell how high up on the ladder Grey and Hunter are. Also which city does this take place in? Even if it is a fantasy city, giving it a name or more than just streetlamps and buildings would help transport the reader into the story. Are there cars lined up alongside the street? Are the buildings mostly office space or are they residence? You don't have to answer these questions now, but if you answer them later in the story your imagery will be much more realistic.

One thing I think you did really well was characterizing Eric. He's always moving and clearly has his own agenda, and the imagery you used to show him cowering before Splinter in the last scene was acutely palpable. I'd love to learn more about Hunter and Grey, and I think you have a terrific start to a dystopian novel!
Good luck writing!






Thank you so much for your review!! Your feedback is super helpful~ I'm trying to get a good balance between giving the reader enough information so they're not incredibly confusing, but also not having a giant information dump at once. I want to information revealed to feel natural, and since Hunter is in Splinter and used to influence, I didn't think it would make sense to have detailed explanations of influence or Splinter in this part. I hope that in the upcoming chapters it gets cleared up more! But do let me know if the confusion is too much right now. Also, I definitely agree on Grey's dialogue now that I reread it ^^ Regarding the characterization, if you read on, I hope it becomes more clear why Hunter's thinking is so ... subdued. And why he sees Grey/the Leader as reverent, perfect beings haha (and thus Eric comes across as the only human character).





Oh goodness, sorry for all the typos xDD



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Sun Jan 31, 2021 5:44 pm
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Stellarjay wrote a review...



Hello Spiritedwolfe,
this chapter was so good! Quite enrapturing. But let's get onto the review shall we?
The Good Stuff
- You had some very good dialogue. Like here for example.

“You are a double agent,” our Leader snapped, his voice growing darker as he spoke. “You are only an agent as long as I say you are an agent. You are a tool. Simply a means to an end, and if you do not follow your orders, you are easy to replace. I know of at least one other agent just as capable as you.” The man shrank into his skin at the threat.

I personally enjoyed how you mixed the dialogue with this kind of thing "The man shrank into his skin at the threat."

- The story had good flow to it, I never got lost anywhere. It was also very engaging, lot's of suspense!
I felt Grey on my heels. She slammed and barred the door behind her as we started our sprint up a new set of stairs. Her presence was incredibly calm and composed compared to the chaotic energy emanating from the crowd of normals below.

I liked your choice of words, it kept it interesting.

-
As this went on, our Leader called me to attention and filled my mind with his order. Teach the man the consequences of disobeying an order and bringing harm to a member of Splinter. Do not hold back, as what can be broken can easily be repaired. Grey listened as he spoke to me, and a smile crept onto her face.

I just loved how you added this aspect to the story. Especially in the last chapter. It strongly reminded me of the series, "A Wrinkle in Time."

Improvements
- Does our main character have a name? I may have missed it in the last chapter, but even so, I think it would be nice to know.

Overall
I think it was a really good addition to your story! I know I don't have much in the way of "improvements" but that was because it was a really good story! I really liked it. I hope this review was helpful, keep on writing and have a great rest of your day!
- Stellarjay






Thanks for the review! Glad to you liked it ^^ And I believe it was mentioned a few times in this part, but the narrator's name is Hunter :)




Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
— Neil Gaiman