Young Writers Society


12+

A Brief Bit of Murder to Start the Day Strong

by Horisun


Being murdered isn’t fun. Especially when it means leaving behind a cup of hot lavender tea beside your rapidly cooling body; and the whole stabbed-thrice-through the chest isn’t ideal either. I have to say, I hope the blood smattered across my face won’t carry over, wherever I’m going. It mars my good looks.

The guy who killed me, Sir Gerald of House Sinister, rises to his feet, knife still clutched in hand. I’m dead on the floor, but I’m also standing behind him, watching. It’s the oddest of things, being a ghost. (If that’s even what I am. At this point, it’s hard to say! Did you hear about the chicken that lived a year without a head?)

Gerald clambers back through the open painting. After Shirley and Joe and Harmony died, I’d locked myself in the foyer and propped myself up on a plush purple couch, practicing my breathing. In an attempt to better find my center, I’d closed my eyes. Still, I curse, it was no excuse to not hear him come in.

The painting is stunning. I remember examining it when Gerald gave us the house tour. The artist had a funny name, Mary Marie Marigold. True to her name, she’d painted a far-off field of bright yellow flowers. The plaque beneath it reads Inevitable.

It isn’t large, by any means. But big enough to fit a secret tunnel behind. The same one Sir Gerald snuck through before he stabbed me senseless. He slams it shut behind him, leaving blood smeared across the once pristine portrait. My blood.

I trudge past my body and through the swamp of red to the painting; if I blur the edges of my peripheral and just focus on the brush strokes, it’s like I’m really there. Thin grass scratching my ankles and soft petals brushing my face- but it’s then I realize I don’t feel anything at all.

I reach forward to touch the frame. I expect the cold chill of metal as I rest my fingers against it, but they’re entirely numb. If I try to tug on it, my hand passes through.

Shivering, I press my palm against the portrait. It shimmers seamlessly but does not budge.

If my throat wasn’t ripped out and strewn across the floor, I would have cried. If my lungs weren’t hung from the ceiling, I would have screamed. But as it stood, I was merely a ghost.

I swam across the room to the door, still locked by my own hand. I reach for the key, but the metal contorts itself each time I draw near.

Help! I mouth, until I find I haven’t any lips. My eyes dart around the room, until I find I haven’t any eyes. I lift my hands to bang against the door, but now, now, there isn’t anything connecting my fingers to my mind.

I am lighter than air. I am air. And then-

I am nothing.

I hope my friends find me, I think for a final time, before I don’t have the mind to think at all.


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Fri Dec 09, 2022 3:01 pm
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KateHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Okayyy well this was quite the ride here. It isn't very often you see a story head from some genuinely good humor and then do a proper nosedive into some genuinely powerful horror but you've somehow pulled it off here.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Being murdered isn’t fun. Especially when it means leaving behind a cup of hot lavender tea beside your rapidly cooling body; and the whole stabbed-thrice-through the chest isn’t ideal either. I have to say, I hope the blood smattered across my face won’t carry over, wherever I’m going. It mars my good looks.


Ahh yes this is a person who's got some of their priorities straight right here as far as heading off into being murdered is concerned, all certainly very valid things to be considering here, I can't wait to see what more details we manage to acquire here, already I am loving this.

The guy who killed me, Sir Gerald of House Sinister, rises to his feet, knife still clutched in hand. I’m dead on the floor, but I’m also standing behind him, watching. It’s the oddest of things, being a ghost. (If that’s even what I am. At this point, it’s hard to say! Did you hear about the chicken that lived a year without a head?)


Hmm not sure about that chicken but I am pretty sure you're a ghost if you happen to be standing behind this man and he's not noticing you. Also I must ask how you did not see this particular death coming here, how does one end up not seeing the person from House Sinister coming to murder you.

Gerald clambers back through the open painting. After Shirley and Joe and Harmony died, I’d locked myself in the foyer and propped myself up on a plush purple couch, practicing my breathing. In an attempt to better find my center, I’d closed my eyes. Still, I curse, it was no excuse to not hear him come in.

The painting is stunning. I remember examining it when Gerald gave us the house tour. The artist had a funny name, Mary Marie Marigold. True to her name, she’d painted a far-off field of bright yellow flowers. The plaque beneath it reads Inevitable.


OKayy well I suppose that is technically going to qualify as a plan that could lead to trying to avoid death, although this seems far more likely to prevent this person from passing out at the horror seeing the other two die than to actually prevent this person from passing away. You also certainly gotta love someone who takes the time to appreciate a piece of good art even right after being brutally murdered.

It isn’t large, by any means. But big enough to fit a secret tunnel behind. The same one Sir Gerald snuck through before he stabbed me senseless. He slams it shut behind him, leaving blood smeared across the once pristine portrait. My blood.

I trudge past my body and through the swamp of red to the painting; if I blur the edges of my peripheral and just focus on the brush strokes, it’s like I’m really there. Thin grass scratching my ankles and soft petals brushing my face- but it’s then I realize I don’t feel anything at all.


Once again gotta love those priorities there. We've got this one chasing after the man that has just painted with their blood but of course we've got the focus being on the effect that said blood has had on the painting and then promptly trying to use that ghostly advantage to actually try and be immersed in the painting.

Shivering, I press my palm against the portrait. It shimmers seamlessly but does not budge.

If my throat wasn’t ripped out and strewn across the floor, I would have cried. If my lungs weren’t hung from the ceiling, I would have screamed. But as it stood, I was merely a ghost.

I swam across the room to the door, still locked by my own hand. I reach for the key, but the metal contorts itself each time I draw near.


Ooooh this is interesting, it seems we've gone from the humor part of this to the more horror oriented bits here because we're seeing the effect that being dead is starting to have and its clear that discovering these effects aren't been taking likely here which is a startling does of reality amidst the exaggerated nature of the rest of the story. I think that's played rather well here.

Help! I mouth, until I find I haven’t any lips. My eyes dart around the room, until I find I haven’t any eyes. I lift my hands to bang against the door, but now, now, there isn’t anything connecting my fingers to my mind.

I am lighter than air. I am air. And then-

I am nothing.

I hope my friends find me, I think for a final time, before I don’t have the mind to think at all.


Well...that was certainly quite a terrifying moment to end on. Things really did escalate quite fast there from the hilariousness we had the start. A powerful ending to proceedings after all. I think this one in a twist I certainly didn't see coming really did manage to justify that horror and humor tag in a far more literal sense than I expected.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall this ended up being a lot more powerful of a piece than I thought and I was definitely quite pleasantly surprised in the end. I really love how you managed to put this one together here.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




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Sun Nov 20, 2022 4:49 am
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Shady wrote a review...



Hey Horisun,

Hope you're doing well! I saw this in the featured works and was intrigued so I clicked, and I must say, I'm glad I did! The title drew me in right away as did your choice to pair "humor" and "horror" as the tags.

I really enjoyed the conversational tone this piece took. It really captures the persona of someone who had a really dry sense of humor in life and is just carrying that energy with them through a truly terrible situation.

I like the humorous elements you slip in really smoothly, such as the artist being named Mary Marie Marigold (I admit, I googled the name to see if she was a real artist or not and was disappointed that Google didn't come through for me lol) and the "House Sinister" reference. It all just worked together really well to set this up as humorous even though it's a sad situation.

And you did a really great job of setting the scene up! It's a really short snippet so you didn't have much time to set up characterization, and yet you did a wonderful job of doing just that. The only thing I would have liked was many a sentence or two about why it is that Gerald killed the narrator and their friends. I would also like maybe a tiny bit more information about the narrator. For whatever reason, I'm envisioning the narrator as a middle-aged man, but skimming it again I'm realizing I don't see any gendered pronouns or physical descriptors outside of the throat/lungs bit late on, so it really could be anyone, and I'd like a bit more clue into that.

Otherwise, this was absolutely phenomenal! Great job!

~Shady 8)




Horisun says...


Thank you for the review :D



Shady says...


^-^



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Sat Nov 19, 2022 6:29 am
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JamesPeterson wrote a review...



A short story's purpose (as you most likely well know and have shown) is to tell a compelling and memorable story in a *short* amount of time. In just over 500 words, that's something you have really mastered.

Before a reader can even truly grasp what's happening, you've drawn them in hook line and sinker. The title is one that grabs attention quickly and really tells someone what they are in for. To me, a Short Story's title is very important, as it should reflect and represent the story; no matter how short or long.
Then your opening line just keeps the ball rolling and that doesn't stop as your story continues. Your prose seems quite delicate and definitely paints a picture--just like Mary Marie Marigold. The syntax is of high quality as well, with good pauses and no drags or rushes.
You weave exposition in subtly that a second read through was the only way I fully understood, and that certainly isn't a criticism. Had i known you were feeding me information, maybe I wouldn't have taken it as well (thus is the curse of exposition). Yet this world you've synthesized is living and breathing. I feel like this character is a real person I'm watching deal with the few moments after death, and yet the world moves on without him.

It starts off fairly humorous, and we get a good characterization of our protag, as he is more worried about his good looks than being dead. However, I think the solemn and somber end is the best part. The fleeting consciousness, the panic and the final thoughts really drove this home as a very good piece of literature.


Generally, there isn't much to complain about here, you are certainly a talented writer. When writing a review, you should find constructive criticism but my only two cents is that you should keep doing what you're doing.
*Maybe* the only thing I can say is that if the story were a bit longer, you could build slightly more immersion and suspense, maybe lead into the somber side more. That's more of a personal opinion than a criticism, however.

Anyway, I've probably talked too much, but them there's me thoughts n review. (Even if it was really just praising a lot of the things you did)
73 Penguins out of 2 French Fries! :D




Horisun says...


Thank you very much for the review! I'm glad you enjoyed it :D



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Thu Nov 17, 2022 6:05 pm
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HJYoung wrote a review...



My first thought about this story is that it is very interesting. From the title to the actual content within, it was quite unique.

I don’t really have much in the way of stuff that I did NOT like about this story, because clearly you are much more experienced in regards to writing than I. The idea of a man who has just been murdered having the equivalent of an out-of-body experience is definitely something that has a lot of potential to detail a detached perspective; like the dude is commenting on the grisly state of his body and the worst thing he has to say is that the blood shouldn’t dirty his good looks!

And then, the story takes a dark turn. He finds out he really cannot do anything, cannot even interact with any object in his vicinity, and his screams cannot be heard by others. And the part at the end where he sinks into complete unconsciousness after a time is definitely horrifying.

The vivid imagery really stood out to me, and the descriptors used to demonstrate the atmosphere of the story is something I appreciated. I do want to know who Gerald is and what happened to his friends…

Sorry if this review wasn’t of the best quality,
HJYoung




Horisun says...


Thank you for the review! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my story, so you don%u2019t need to worry at all about the quality! (Though I must assure you, it was very well articulated)




i am neither a loose leaf nor do i like loose leafs. really, i am a piece of wide-ruled looseleaf paper
— looseleaf