z
  • Home

Young Writers Society


E - Everyone

The Old Man

by ghxstfacx


The Old Man

The old man sat looking at the deep dark blue night sky, the yellow stars piercing through giving more light than the moon. The clothes he wore were brown and rotten. He smelled of mold and soil as if he had just risen from the ground itself. The porch he sat on was just as rotten as he was. The house attached to it creaked and moaned as the wind blew fiercely in different directions. It wobbled back and forth with every gust hinting that it could topple at any moment. The old man sat on his rocking chair in fear. His deteriorating body crumbled at every touch, it was almost as if the body was dead but the soul still remained unwilling to let go. He sat and stared at the vast field in front of him, the shotgun he was holding clutched to his chest. His skin was weathered and dry like sandpaper, his nails were rustic and orange looking as if they wanted to be ripped off and free. There was a loud beating in his chest almost as if his heart was begging to escape its captive cage.

Constantly looking at the sky he hoped the night would end, so a new day could start and put this cycle of fear on hold, but the Sun never rose. Just as he looked away there was rustling in the field, the wind once blowing stopped suddenly. He shuffled in the rocking chair that held his delicate body, knuckles shifting between white and pink as he held the gun against him, aiming at the emptiness of the field. It was taunting him. The darkness fed on the small bits of sanity he had left. Behind the tree line that protected him from the haunting reality of the real world lurked eyes. Eyes that shined so bright that they could see through your soul. The drum in his chest grew louder and louder, The Eyes knew this. They were playing with him, of course, he knew that nothing could pass the thick trees in that forest for he had walked the treeline many times checking and placing traps to keep unwanted visitors away, and day after day nothing came to attack him. Now was different he didn’t fear the beast he feared the Dark, it was the realm where they roamed that scared him. The darkness itself was thick and empty, strange and unhuman-like noises flurried from it. He didn’t blink. He couldn't. The Eyes come closer at every instance where he looks away. The bones in his body rattled and shook almost like a rattlesnake's tail. The fear of what would happen to him if The Eyes got to him filled his brain. He didn't want to die, he knew it would happen but death scared him. He knew he was old and he knew his body would give up and he would collapse and let his body be one with the earth. Reality settled in too quickly and now he was afraid, sweat pooled on his forehead, it was greasy, yellow, and thick. The more the sweat gathered the heavier it got until it let go sliding down his face and got in his eyes blinding him. Quickly he released his hands from the gun to wipe his eyes closing them in the process. When they reopened darkness stood in front of him.

A blood-curdling scream filled the woods, the forest chased it, the wind blowing again more fiercely than ever towards the scream. Howls and laughs floated in the breeze as the beasts from the forest came to collect what fear left behind for them to eat. The house was silent and the creaking ceased. The chair that once held the rotten figure rocked back and forth in the wind, its white color pierced through the dark of the day. Eyes following its movements waiting, and stalking for the next victim filled with fear and despair. 


Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar


Points: 54
Reviews: 1

Donate
Stickied -- Fri Sep 08, 2023 5:01 pm
View Likes
ghxstfacx says...



Umm- I guess for a kind of review or warning for this story a lot of the things may not seem intentional but they are. I get that it may either make the story a lot more confusing or it might make it make a lot more sense.

This was more of a write about how we all focus on living and staying alive for so long we forget that there's always going to be death around the corner.

Hopefully, you all like it!!




User avatar
22 Reviews

Points: 14
Reviews: 22

Donate
Mon Sep 18, 2023 8:11 pm
Razor wrote a review...



This story is very good. I really like it. First off, the man was clearly afraid, and the darkness seemed to be feeding off his fear. You really used a lot of descriptive words in here and for that you get a 🍪. This story really hits home how we, as humans, are afraid of death. We are afraid of dying. In fact, we are almost always wallowing in fear. We just hide it, push it deep down inside of us and carry on because our society calls us cowards. No. The ones who show fear are the ones who change the world. We show fear about murder, hunger, war, climate change, homophobia, racism, and sexism, etc. because we do not want anyone else to fear these things ever again. Fear is a tool that can be used as a force for good. Just look at Batman. He turned fear into a weapon. He even says that fear is a tool in The Batman (2022). This monster is feeding off fear. It is feeding off this old man's fear just like Batman. Enough nerdy talk though. This is a great story and I really want you to write more stories.

Have a great night/day!




User avatar
22 Reviews

Points: 14
Reviews: 22

Donate
Mon Sep 18, 2023 8:11 pm
Razor says...



This story is very good. I really like it. First off, the man was clearly afraid, and the darkness seemed to be feeding off his fear. You really used a lot of descriptive words in here and for that you get a 🍪. This story really hits home how we, as humans, are afraid of death. We are afraid of dying. In fact, we are almost always wallowing in fear. We just hide it, push it deep down inside of us and carry on because our society calls us cowards. No. The ones who show fear are the ones who change the world. We show fear about murder, hunger, war, climate change, homophobia, racism, and sexism, etc. because we do not want anyone else to fear these things ever again. Fear is a tool that can be used as a force for good. Just look at Batman. He turned fear into a weapon. He even says that fear is a tool in The Batman (2022). This monster is feeding off fear. It is feeding off this old man's fear just like Batman. Enough nerdy talk though. This is a great story and I really want you to write more stories.

Have a great night/day!




User avatar
542 Reviews

Points: 41664
Reviews: 542

Donate
Sat Sep 09, 2023 9:10 am
Liminality wrote a review...



Hi there! Lim here with a review.

General Impressions

I like the idea and general structure of this story. The reveals of the Eyes and how they fed on the old man’s fear were interesting and scary.

Constantly looking at the sky he hoped the night would end, so a new day could start and put this cycle of fear on hold, but the Sun never rose.

If I understand this correctly, it seems ‘the Eyes’ can stop him from seeing the Sun? I got the impression that the Sun was still out there somewhere but whatever is tormenting the old man is stopping him from seeing it. I also got the sense that a lot of the imagery in the story had to do with things breaking free or being trapped – the old man’s soul is figuratively described as being trapped, some body parts are compared to things trying to break free, etc.

Descriptions

He smelled of mold and soil as if he had just risen from the ground itself. The porch he sat on was just as rotten as he was. The house attached to it creaked and moaned as the wind blew fiercely in different directions.

I like this because the imagery clues us in that something is terribly wrong with the situation. It made me wonder: why would he smell ‘rotten’ if all he’s been doing is sitting in a chair? That also clued me in that there was something maybe more supernatural going on in the story – and it fits with the idea of this story as an allegory for the fear of death, as you’ve mentioned in your comment.

The old man sat on his rocking chair in fear. His deteriorating body crumbled at every touch, it was almost as if the body was dead but the soul still remained unwilling to let go.

I thought maybe the “crumbled at every touch” felt a bit extreme here. I don’t think anything was touching him at the moment except for his chair, so it kind of distracted me from the scene?

He shuffled in the rocking chair that held his delicate body, knuckles shifting between white and pink as he held the gun against him, aiming at the emptiness of the field.

I thought this was a good way to show him trying to regain control but failing. It shows that he’s scared through the language – he “shuffled”, which is kind of a haphazard movement, not really by someone who’s confident, and also he doesn’t really have a concrete target, so it makes it look like he’s just trying to assuage his fear.

The chair that once held the rotten figure rocked back and forth in the wind, its white color pierced through the dark of the day.

Insofar as this is meant to be in the horror genre, I like ending on the empty chair – that leaves it up to the imagination what happened to him. In my opinion, that does make it scarier.

Plot and Theme

I had the inkling that the story addresses the theme you mention in the comments, but I wasn’t certain about it.
He didn't want to die, he knew it would happen but death scared him. He knew he was old and he knew his body would give up and he would collapse and let his body be one with the earth. Reality settled in too quickly

I had the thought that “reality” was representing death in this part in particular. If ‘the Eyes’ had been a typical horror monster, he wouldn’t be thinking about his age and the inevitability of death for him, etc. so that was a hint. Before this part I was pretty convinced ‘the Eyes’ were representations of the unknown or something like that.

Behind the tree line that protected him from the haunting reality of the real world lurked eyes.

One suggestion I have is to pepper in more hints about what this “haunting reality” is. I think that might help readers get at the theme/ message of the story better and foreshadow the conclusion. And besides in terms of the fantasy/horror aspect, it would be nice to contextualise how the Eyes came to feed off of this old man in particular. Did he start fearing death a month ago? Years ago? Did the Eyes appear to him as they are back then as well or is that a more recent development? Having a bit more details like that would be nice to flesh out the story.

Overall

I like the imagery and the progression of the story. I think you did a good job of conveying a narrative arc in a short space. The fact that I can look back on the beginning of the story and see hints of the fear-of-death theme is pretty neat as well.

Let me know if you’d like more feedback on something specific!
-Lim




User avatar
229 Reviews

Points: 9163
Reviews: 229

Donate
Wed Sep 06, 2023 10:29 pm
foxmaster wrote a review...



Hey, Foxmaster here to leave a review!
Image
(This is an amazing banner made by @Rose, by the way, and you should really check out some of her work!)
Oh, I really liked this! First of all, your description was great, and I really, really enjoyed this. Welcome to YWS, by the way! I look forward to reading more of your work!
Now, on to the review....

The old man sat looking at the deep dark blue night sky, the yellow stars piercing through giving more light than the moon. The clothes he wore were brown and rotten. He smelled of mold and soil as if he had just risen from the ground itself. The porch he sat on was just as rotten as he was.

first of all, I find that you are using the repetition of "he" a lot here, and I recommend switching it up a little, sometimes.
Constantly looking at the sky he hoped the night would end, so a new day could start and put this cycle of fear on hold, but the Sun never rose.

I would put a comma after sky, and also uncapitalize "the sun." In this story, you add a good amount of commas, not in some of the right places.
A blood-curdling scream filled the woods, the forest chased it, the wind blowing again more fiercely than ever towards the scream.

here, once again, there's repetition, this time with "the scream." I also didn't really understand this sentence, as the part with the wind, and the trees and stuff was kind of confusing.
But, overall, that's it, and I really liked this. I hope that you check out some of my work, and have a really good review month!
happy writing,
-Foxmaster




rpanda says...


Slayed. Ate. Left no Crumbs. Old man = depressed, relatable. Gilf fr.



ghxstfacx says...


REALLLLLLLLLL



foxmaster says...


wait what bro




You got rid of them. Yes, that's just like you. Getting rid of everything unpleasant instead of learning to put up with it.
— Aldous Huxley, Brave New World