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Never Never Land- Chapter Two

by AndName


Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language.

CHAPTER TWO

Dusk

It's unnerving.

The eternal white lights that stab down into my eyes, so many insects swarming that they drown out any other sound.

I can't hear if the Wolves are nearby. Even my sense of smell is capped, the stench of Elle's horrid cigarette drowning out everything else.

She alternatively takes a sip of water and a puff.

I'm pacing. To fight off the tight ball of pain in the center of my forehead, to give my legs something to do. To trick my brain into thinking we're still moving.

I glance back to the clear walls separating us from where Sean and Bon are inside the strange building. Bon had to relieve herself and Sean didn't have an explanation to give.

He never does.

I retrieve the map from my pocket, carefully unfold it and scanning the foreign scrawl.

Red lines intersect blue lines. There are blue shields with numbers. A line cuts through the middle, and on top of it in bold black lines is the word, OKLAHOMA. Below in equally emphasized letters is TEXAS.

This map is so different from a Never map. Never maps are separated into multiple sections depending on the type land and who's territory it is. Fox territory is separated from the Swamp by a thick forking branch of the river. On the other side of the Thicket is the Woods which Rabbit Burrow is located at the very bottom of.

It's all very straight forward.

"We're right here," Elle says, interrupting my pacing and steps close, pointing to a spot with the words Russet Fields is stamped in dark blue.

I scowl at her, stepping a foot or so away and refolding the map, pressing it back into crisp lines. I make my tone match, "I don't need your help,"

Her eyebrows raise and she looks away, puffing more.

My eyes snap up from her cursed cigarette as two beaming yellow lights appear and stop not a tree length away, staring at us.

Involuntarily, I take a step back as the twin globes die and another light ignites, illuminating a human woman.

A car.

I tuck the map into my pocket before I crush it in my fist.

Elle laughs, the sound grating my shooken nerves.

I feel my face twitch, though I try to set it to stone. Be polite. Use my Fox manners.

I should know enough by now to keep a blank face. But I'm frayed, tearing apart in places where I should be strong. I snap at the girl I no longer know.

"Spit it out."

She shakes her head, a smile on her startling lips, tossing the spent cigarette to the ground where she stomps on it with a strangely built shoe.

"Is this real?"

I keep it cordial, turning back to watch as the woman climbs out of her car and hurriedly passes us, clutching a sort of embellished bag to her side.

"Yes."

I feel blind, the incessant lights glaring into my eyes. And I don't understand anything these stupid humans do. I don't understand what I'm supposed to be doing.

Mother said it so clear. I should remember more than I do.

"You're different. You're all so different. Why are you here?"

I'm not sure what I should tell her. I would prefer to say nothing at all. "Royal business."

She gestures behind her to the doors, "Frog Prince?"

She's as quick as she used to be. Eyes almost as sharp as a Foxes, though they don't refect.

"If you must know, yes."

"You don't like me,"

I bite my tongue. Mother would be proud.

"You're different." She says it with an air like she knows something. Something about me.

I hiss out a breath and turn on her, "I'm not your friend. Not anymore."

Her eyes are dark and they study me for a long second. I study her as well.

She takes another drink, then repeats herself, "You're different." Then she takes a step towards me, I hold my ground, staring down at her, "What happened to you?"

"If you would ple-"

The door swings open and Bon slings out, hair flying into her face, "Come!"

She darts back inside and I catch the door before it slams close.

I don't look at Elle, pushing past her to inside.

It's bright. White walls, not marble like the palace, but something else. Something dingy, disgusting smells wafting up. Its bright and unlike any place I've ever been before.

Distasteful. No wonder Sean knew of a place like this.

There's a man asleep behind a counter. I can smell him, sour gathering in my nose so harsh I gag.

I take hesitant steps, catching all the exits before I go any farther. Elle passes me, pokes her head around a shelf.

I do as well, though it's against my principals.

There are shoulder high white shelves and lining each side in rows are packages to bright to be healthy, though they look to be food.

Sean's squatted down between two of them, a variety of items laid out before him and he's winding some type of reflective paper around the stick.

He's trying to fix it.

Elle

My brain is fuzzy but getting clearer. Not fast enough. Not near fast enough to keep up with what's happening.

They're real. My childhood imaginary friends.

Who knew? Not me. Never me.

And different. My age. Troubled. Dusky more so than the others. He's nothing like the mischief making boy he was. He has a line that cuts between his copper eyebrows that tell a story of sternness, and the sharp way his eyes catch on things but says nothing.

I guess it makes me feel less alone.

Knowing they went through shit too.

Dusk

From what I can tell, it's working.

Every second or so the end jolts. Hard enough that he's having trouble holding onto it.

He's taping a package to the missing end. It smells like some sort of meat though it doesn't look like it.

Bon grabs me by the arm so tight that my fingertips tingle.

He bites the metal paper, tearing it, and just like that, it hops out of his hands.

I jump out of the way, knocking into one of the full shelves as it flies past me and skirts around the end of the isle.

Sean jumps up, Bon grabs my hand, hauling me behind her as we chase it zig zagging through the aisles.

It shoots behind the counter and down a hall on the other side.

Everyone but Sean screeches to a halt.

The man jolts awake with a yell as Sean barrels past, shooting over the counter and down the hall, knocking over a rack of things that go crashing to the floor.

I'm already darting to the side, out the invisibal door and around the corners of the building where it's quiet and dark.

Sean struggling on the ground with the stick in a patch of dry grass, trying to throw his body over it to weight it down but it jerks to the side.

He's being dragged around by a stick.

Bon and Elle skid around and stop beside me. Seeing Sean, Bon breathes out, "Oh,"

I'm smiling, hand coming up to hide my mouth, as the stick does a roll, flopping Sean around, and then shoots straight as an arrow to a tree.

I blink.

Between one second and the next he's disappeared.

"What? Where'd he go?" I'm not sure who says it.

I run forward to the tree, hesitate before touching my hand to the rough bark.

We have to follow him. As much as I hate the idea and as absurd as it is, I have to go into the tree.

I glance behind to Bon and she shakes her head, eyes huge.

I touch my fingers to the bark and it sucks me in.

Elle

I must be on something, I decide as a tree eats both Frog Prince and Dusky. I must've ate something laced with drugs.

I must've breathed them in.

This is crazy.

Honey Bunny, no, Bonnie, she runs up to the tree and throws herself at it.

I'm the only one left, standing behind a gas station, feeling stupid. I'm an idiot. Such an idiot.

I should just be smart and turn around. Just go home. Get some rest.

Something.

But no, I walk up to the tree as well and kick it with the toe of my scuffed up leather boots, halfway hopeing whatever happened to the other's not going to work on me because I'm normal.

No such luck.

Dusk

I groan, my insides shaken up and frothy feeling.

My head is rested on something hard and I swear I can hear my headache.

I look over, wincing at the light in my eyes, when I hear Sean spitting words I only know him to use.

He's staggering to his feet a little ways off, brushing leaves off of his blue human pants.

Before my eyes, Bon appears, flying out of the air, tumbling head over heels to a stop.

I push myself up and shake my head, brain bouncing against the sides of my skull. I brings my hands up and push my knuckles into my eyes.

It's purple. The space between trees a dusty color. The air's warm, humid, and I think I know where we are.

"Fur." I curse, rubbing my eyes.

We were back in Never.

I could smell it.

The air's clean in Never, like by a river. The human world just smells like smoke and dust.

I get to my feet, stagger a step, but don't reach towards a tree for support. You can't trust trees.

A short scream bursts and Elle falls, smacking her head against the moss blanketed trunk of one.

I believe I know where we are.

I rush over to help Bon up, grabbing her hands and pulling her to her feet where she sways head swiveling around. Sean goes to Elle.

"Are we..." Sean trails off, I nod, finishing his sentence, "In the Woods."

"Wait, where are we?" Elle's voice is breathy.

I ignore her, frowning down at Bon. She's picking the leaves off her clothes, "Are you okay?"

Bon shakes, more leaves raining down, "Fine. Do you think we lost them?"

I think we might have a new problem.

"Where's the stick?"

"Goddammit," Sean kicks the leaves, "Which way do you think it went."

I laugh. I can't help myself, though I try to stiffle. Doesn't work. Bon's patting me on the back, and that makes me crack up more.

Sean's hands are on my chest, shoving me back. I grin, tossing my hair out of my eyes, "Lost your stick?"

His face is rock hard and he grits out, stepping into my space, "Why don't you quit being you for a second and fucking help?"

"Hey! Stop it. Just stop. This isn't helping anything, you imbeciles." Bon squeezes between us, pushing us back.

I jink an eyebrow up and brush my hair from where it's fallen into my eyes, "How about it?"

The look I get from him could burn. But he steps back and I scan the sky.

It's hard to tell the time. The shadows are disrupted by the thick canopy overhead, the lichen on the side of the trunks unhelpful at best. I can't tell what direction I'm facing, which is disorienting because that was one of the essentials I learned before I was set loose on the world.

If this were the Thicket, I wouldn't even need the sun. I could recognize the trees themselves.

"Bon?"

She frowns, small nose trembling as she sniffs around, "I dunno. It doesn't smell right. Do you smell somethin'?"

I think about it, getting another whiff, "A creek, maybe a river."

Just nods, turning around, "I smell it too, but doesn't it seem off to you? And I don't know these trees..."

"Ah, excuse me? Can't we just go back the way we came?" Elle cuts in, fear seeping from every word.

I'm not the one that snaps at her, Sean is, "Do you see the stick? Please tell us when you do, because otherwise we're stranded."

Bon puts up a hand, "Wait, maybe we can if we find the well? There has to be somebody around here..."

She was right. We were in someone's territory. Most likely we've already been spotted.

By who is the question though.

Fox's aren't in decent running with all the clans, not like the Rabbits. Or even the Frogs for that matter.

"We have to move, find a land marking we recognise." I say, the shadows of anxiety creeping in the corners of my mind and the rest of my brain throbbing like it's been shooken to pulp. We can't rely on others. It was too dangerous.

"And then I can go home? I never agreed to this."

"Oh, shut your mouth." I hiss at Elle and Bon punches my shoulder with her sharp knuckles. Hard. "Apologize. She's scared, Dusk."

I eye Elle. She has a green smudge across her cheek and a crazed look in her eye. Strands of her dark hair are stuck to her mouth.

My jaw clicks when I set it, but I know better than to let pride get in the way, "I'm sorry, Elle." Then, because I'm feeling generous, I hold a hand out, " Sean, please choose what way to go so we all don't get gutted or something equally unpleasant."

Sean rolls his eyes, ignoring my hand, and stomps past the fallen tree.

Bon smiles at me, a wide spread of her pink lips, "That was very considerate."

My smile is tense, but I sweep out the hand I had just raised, for Bon to follow Sean. I even allow Elle to pass to show her just how considerate I am.

Elle

I'm back in Never Never Land.

I'm so stupid.

Bon

Something's getting on his nerves. I can tell, I've known him since forever.

Even if we haven't been that closest recently.

Something's dug deep into his skin, making his fingers tap his legs fast, his tail quivering and ears swiveling. Dusk gets a headache when he's stressed, and he has one now. The skin around his mouth is tight, the line between his arching eyebrows severe.

I wish he would tell me what it is. I don't believe it's Elle, or atleast not just her. He's been like this for weeks now, figgeting in his own skin.

He needs to just get it over with and tell me.

But knowing him, he'd never speak a word.

No, he'd probably recite something about Fox intergerity.

Sean

He's an asshole.

Always has been. Always will be. He never apologizes. And when he does, it's with that look on his face. The one that makes me want to slug him in the face to finally wipe it off.

The only reason I've put up with him all these years is because he and Bon get along somehow. She's too nice, she doesn't want to see the person he actually is.

And Bon's my only friend, so there's not much I can do.

Though I'm not entirely sure that after what happened we're still friends.

I can't think of it now.

I push on through the forest.


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Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:52 pm
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Gnomish wrote a review...



Hey!

So after reading this chapter I'm a bit confused and I really want to read the next chapter! The dynamics between the characters are great, and i'm really getting a sense of their personalities and quirks.

As for the confusion, what happened with the tree? Is it some kind of portal to Never Never Land, but if it is why did they need the stick. And speaking of the stick, how exactly did Sean fix it?

Anyways, I really liked the style of this chapter and the plot seems to be moving in a great direction!
-Gnomish




AndName says...


Hi!

While I loved the dynamic the characters have, the story didn't have any real direction I could grasp, so unless I figure out where its headed, I won't write it anymore. SO. To answer your questions, the tree was most definitely a portal back, and the stick was a sort of key. I don't think it was particularly magical except that it came from Never Never Land, so it was easily fixed by making the bent end straight again, but only Sean figured it out. It's sort of like a well finding stick, but leads you where you need to go instead of wells.
Hope that makes more sense to you than it does to me :)

AndName



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Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:03 pm
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Panikos wrote a review...



Hiya, AndName! Just dropping in for a quick review. I haven't read the first chapter of this, but I'll do my best to make this critique helpful.

Mellifera has already expansively covered the line-by-line critiques, so this review is going to concern more overall thoughts and suggestions for the piece. I'm kind of in two minds about it. There are some really intriguing ideas and characters in this chapter alone, but it also suffers from sparse description, a choppy structure and a lack of distinctiveness in the different narration styles. I'm going to cover my criticisms first, just so we can get the negatives out of the way.

From a technical standpoint, one of the most distracting issues with this piece is the structure of it, particularly your over-zealous line-breaks. You seem to start a new paragraph for every new sentence, which makes the prose really choppy to read. You only need to start a new paragraph when there's a fairly significant change of topic, which means I could restructure your opening to be like this:

It's unnerving.

The eternal white lights that stab down into my eyes, so many insects swarming that they drown out any other sound. I can't hear if the Wolves are nearby. Even my sense of smell is capped, the stench of Elle's horrid cigarette drowning out everything else. She alternatively takes a sip of water and a puff.

I'm pacing. To fight off the tight ball of pain in the center of my forehead, to give my legs something to do. To trick my brain into thinking we're still moving. I glance back to the clear walls separating us from where Sean and Bon are inside the strange building. Bon had to relieve herself and Sean didn't have an explanation to give. He never does.


Sometimes, writers will start new lines for emphasis, or for some stylistic purpose. The rules of paragraphing aren't particularly strict. But the key to good writing is variation, in a lot of cases, so your paragraphs should be a variety of lengths if you want your prose to flow. Starting new lines constantly gives the narration a strange, stop-start quality.

The next thing I want to touch on is something that mellifera mentioned. This is only the second chapter of the story, so I'd expect it to be relatively easy to pick up on what's happening. Unfortunately, it's really quite difficult to follow - I didn't have a clue what was going on with the stick, and it's only on a re-read that I can make sense of what they were doing in that strange building. Some of your dialogue, especially in Dusk's first POV section, is hard to make sense of as well, because you don't supply enough dialogue tags nor enough description of the characters' body language as they speak.

I would also like far, far more description of the setting. There are some really nice images in this, so I definitely think you've got it in you to paint a good picture. You don't need to dedicate masses of time to it or describe every little detail, but we need a better lay of the land. Where are the characters? How are they positioned relative to one another? How are they interacting with the environment - is one hunched, picking petals from a daisy? Is one slumped on a bench? Describe the setting, with all of its smells and sounds and colours, and also describe how your characters are situated within it. You're juggling a big cast, so the reader needs enough information to be able to position them all. It's not something we can do completely by ourselves.

Unlike mellifera, I don't necessarily have an issue with you changing POVs within chapters. It's not a common thing, and it lends originality to your work, and the brief glimpses into each character's mind adds a nice variation. I think you could exploit it much more, though. Show the contrast between what (for example) Dusk thinks Elle is thinking, and what she's actually thinking. Use it to show how fractured and varied each perspective is, and how differently each character views the same scene or event. You also need to do far more to differentiate the narrative style of each POV. At the moment, the only way I can really tell that you've switched perspectives is because the names are there to tell me. However, the POV should be obvious from the writing style itself - each character should have a slightly different way of describing things, a slightly different vocabulary and sentence structure. Given that these characters seem to be a range of species (all based on different animals?), you could really delve into the differences between their senses, then use that to make their writing styles more distinct. Different animals can see different colours, and their sense of smell or hearing might vary. They'll all experience the world in a slightly different way, so they should describe the world differently too.

They're my main three pointers. Make sure you're paragraphing properly, give us more setting and character description, and differentiate your narrative voices more. Even with all that considered, I do think this story has huge potential. I was so intrigued when Dusk was sucked into the tree, and even more so when he mentioned that trees couldn't be trusted. The description is minimal, but you still conjure up an element of unease from the moment they set foot in Never Never Land, and I would love to know more about that world.

Even though their POVs aren't that distinguished, outside of that, their personalities feel fairly distinct. Dusk seems stubborn and difficult, but interesting because of it - Elle feels like the outsider, and Bon the friendliest of the bunch. Sean seems a little stubborn himself, which is probably why he clashes with Dusk. I like that there's a lot of friction among the cast, because it creates another level of conflict. I'm especially interested as to where Elle fits in among all of this. I'm guessing she met Dusk, Sean and Bon when she was a child, but grew up to assume that they were imaginary friends and Never Never Land had never existed. Only she now knows that's not the case. That's a really neat idea for a premise.

I do question the name Never Never Land, though, because it seems a little generic. Neverland already exists in Peter Pan, and there's a Neil Gaiman book called Neverwhere as well. They're such notable examples that I feel like you'd do better with a more unique name. It's up to you, though!

That's all for this review, anyhow. I hope it helped! There's definitely tons of promise here, but you need to work on the nuts and bolts a little more - description, flow, creating a distinct style. If you've got any questions about what I said here, don't hesitate to ask.

Keep writing! :D
~Pan




AndName says...


Thanks! This review is exactly what I needed! *happy dance*



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Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:19 am
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mellifera wrote a review...



Hey AndName! I'll be stopping by for a review today! :)

Just so you know, I haven't read the previous chapter in the series. I'm sorry if I mention something that would have been made clear had I done so.


It's unnerving.


I'm really into this hook! It starts with the immediate question "what's unnerving?" and I love stories that are generally unnerving, so this catches my attention!

I retrieve the map from my pocket, carefully unfold it and scanning the foreign scrawl.


This should be "I retrieve the map from my pocket, carefully unfold it, and scan the foreign scrawl."

which Rabbit Burrow is located at the very bottom of.


You'll want to avoid filler words like "very" in writing ("really" and "just" are some others), because more often than not, they don't actually add anything to your writing. They pad it, but don't enhance it in any way. "which Rabbit Burrow is located at the bottom of" is no different, only a little shorter, without "very" in there. Same goes for:

It's all very straight forward.


which could easily be "It's straight forward."

I make my tone match, "I don't need your help,"


Both of these commas should actually be periods! And, to be honest, I'd nix "I make my tone match" because, by what Dusk is saying alone and the way he scowls, is enough to give context clues that he's not happy/his tone is snippy.

I take a step back as the twin globes die


"Globes" isn't the appropriate context for that word. Beams of light or plain headlight work just as well.

the sound grating my shooken nerves.


I think you meant "shaken"?

I snap at the girl I no longer know.

"Spit it out."


I'm not quite sure if you mean snapping in the vocal descriptor way or if Dusk is snapping his jaws. If it's the former, then I would remove it. Telling the readers of an action before it happens,,,, doesn't make sense. Just describe the action, or in this instance, write the dialogue. Don't prepare for it.
If it was the former, please ignore me! :)

a smile on her startling lips,


Why are her lips startling?

tossing the spent cigarette to the ground


Is this the human woman, or Elle? You're not giving much in the way of description or what the characters are doing or feeling. If Dusk knows who this woman is, please, please use her name. This is from Dusk's perspective, he isn't going to purposely conceal information from themself.
(Upon further contemplation, I think it's Elle?? but again, you're very vague about it, so I am still left kind of stumped)

I feel blind, the incessant lights glaring into my eyes.


Using "feel/felt/feelings" in prose is more than not telling, when you want to be showing. In this situation, it's the difference between what a character is feeling and how they're feeling it. I could just tell you "I'm angry", or I could tell you that "I'm clenching my jaw, and my fists are tight enough that my nails are digging into my palms". See how much more expressive and visceral that is to read? It gives more insight on what the character is feeling, but also how they're reacting from that emotion.

Okay, so, from here:

"You're different. You're all so different. Why are you here?"


to:

"If you would ple-"


I don't know who's speaking. While you don't want to add dialogue tags onto every section of dialogue, you either need to say who's speaking or you need to give context clues. Maybe one of them shifts, or another glances around, or another nods. There's no clarity in this section, and in part, I'm sure it has something to do with not reading the first part, but you also have a lot of short lines. Add some flesh and muscle to the skeleton here! Description is your friend: what do they see/smell/hear/taste/feel? Is there a cool breeze? Is it hot or humid? Does it smell like chemicals, or flowers? I think the characters are outside, but I don't know.

though they don't refect.


"Reflect"?

I can smell him, sour gathering in my nose so harsh I gag.


"sour gathering" doesn't quite work the way you're trying for here. Perhaps "I can smell him, a sour stench gathering in my nose", or something similar?

Elle passes me, pokes her head around a shelf.

I do as well, though it's against my principals.


It's against his principals to look around a shelf?

lining each side in rows are packages to bright to be healthy,


"too bright"

They're real. My childhood imaginary friends.


:o she thinks that the other characters were her childhood imaginary friends??? That's super interesting???

Bon grabs me by the arm so tight that my fingertips tingle.


The only way his arm would start tingling is if all circulation was cut off from his arm, which would 1) make Bon's fingers uncomfortably long and 2) uncomfortably buff.

out the invisibal door


This should be "invisible".

halfway hopeing whatever happened to the other's not going to work on me


"Hopeing" should be "hoping", "other's" should be "others", and the sentence is arranged somewhat confusingly? "partially hoping whatever happened to the others would not happen to me" would be more correct, or something similar.

I groan, my insides shaken up and frothy feeling.


I already mentioned the "feeling" thing being telling, so watch for that, but otherwise, this sentence doesn't make a lot of sense? Did you mean that his insides were shaken up and felt frothy? Like, "I groan, shaken up, my insides like froth"?

I swear I can hear my headache.


Why is this strange? You can sometimes hear your pulse when you have a headache, or noises are amplified. It's not so much "hearing" your own headache as it is other senses heightened by a headache.

"Fur." I curse,


I love it ahaha. I am going to nitpick that the period after Fur should be a comma, because it's dialogue followed by a dialogue tag, but still, I love it.

We were back in Never.

I could smell it.


I would actually rearrange this sentence and put it on one line! So, "I could smell it. We were back in Never."
(Actually, I would also shift the next line up with it too. "I could smell it. We were back in Never. The air's clean in Never, like a river. The human world just smells like smoke and dust.")

You can't trust trees.


Sentient land??? omg YES PLEASE.

I believe I know where we are.


Instead of being vague (again, Dusk isn't withholding information from himself), begin with "I believe we're in *location*". There's not reason to be mysterious about it. Building suspense is great, but in situations like this (and usually early on in the story in general), it doesn't work.

"Are we..." Sean trails off, I nod, finishing his sentence, "In the Woods."


The dialogue should be separated since two different characters are speaking! So, it should look more like:
"Are we..." Sean trails off.
I nod. "In the woods."
Also, you don't have to say "finishing his sentence", since you're giving the dialogue that finishes his sentences. You don't have to state something you're already writing in! It becomes redundant, and dries your writing.
(Also, Dusk's action was moved to the next line because the first like was Sean and his dialogue, and Dusk's action needed to be separated from it. I get called out for this all the time :p)

"Where's the stick?"


I still have no idea what the purpose of this stick is in the story? Or what it is, really.

Fox's aren't in decent running with all the clans


"Fox's" should be "Foxes". An apostrophe with an s following it is possessive. For example, the way you wrote it would be: "The Fox's territory" as in, it is their territory. It's also used as an "is", such as "it's", which is shortened from "it is". I've seen this a few times now, so just be wary about this!

like it's been shooken to pulp.


"shaken" :)

"Oh, shut your mouth." I hiss at Elle and Bon punches my shoulder with her sharp knuckles. Hard. "Apologize. She's scared, Dusk."


Same situation here! Bon's line should be on a different line than Dusk's.

Even if we haven't been that closest recently.


"closest" should be just "close".

figgeting in his own skin.


"Fidgeting".

something about Fox intergerity.


"Integrity", although that doesn't make much sense given the context of what Bon is thinking of.


Okay, so two things. One, there's the easily fixable grammatical errors. I recommend using some kind of online editor (I've used both Grammarly and Hemingway App in the past, and both worked well for me. I have since got Microsoft Word though, which catches most of them for me) to catch spelling and some of the grammatical errors. Another trick you can use is reading it aloud! Find out what sounds natural to your ears. You'll catch a lot you wouldn't normally when you're forced to say each word, rather than leafing over it in your mind.
The second is a little more tricky. You have a good base here to work with, like I said earlier, a "skeleton" if you will. Now you need all the meat for your story.
I mean this as in setting. Where are your characters? What is that location like? I don't mean only "the human world" and "Never", I mean, are they in a park? What kind of building? What are their surroundings?
Then there's description. What colours are in your setting? What can your characters see? You mention smell a few times because Dusk is a Fox (some kind of hybrid human/fox??), lean into that! Describe what he can smell!
Then we have character actions/reactions/movement. You've got a few facial reactions, but otherwise, there's very little in terms of body language. Crossing arms, shifting weight from hip to hip, running fingers through hair, putting hands in pockets, etc.
Again, you have some of the how characters are feeling, but it could definitely be more amped up. This ties in somewhat with character actions/reactions/movement.

As of right now, I don't think it would hurt your story at all to explain more about certain aspects like Never, what this "stick" is and what it does, or what Sean was even doing with it when Dusk came into the building. Why did it float away? What about the human woman, what was she doing?
Some of these things could have been explained in the first chapter, but this is only the second, which means it can't all have been (unless there was serious info-dumping).


Writing multiple perspectives is hard. It's hard to keep multiple characters consistent and develop them each as a main narrator. When you're writing multiple povs, the best way to do it is switching them Chapter to Chapter. If I've read stories that had pov switches during a chapter, but they occurred later in the series after you had a sense of each main character, and they all had long section dedicated to them so it wasn't jolting to be taken from one perspective to the next.
I read an article recently with 5 General Rules when writing multiple povs, but I'm only going to mention three of them because the other ones don't apply here.
Choose the Right Character to Narrate a Chapter (who has the most to lose? The clearest goal? Who changes the most? Who drives the chapter?), Ensure POV Characters Deserve to Have Their Section (make sure pov characters have their own arcs and development), and Don't Confuse Your Readers (remember, your readers don't know what you know! This is all new to them, and it's hard to keep multiple povs straight).
Here's a more expansive article (not the same one) if you're curious.

I'm bringing this up because not only do you have multiple povs in this one chapter, but they also switch so fast (especially towards the end) that it gets to be a whiplash experience for your readers.
So ask yourself why you're writing with multiple povs. What does it bring to the story? Do all these characters need perspectives?


Overall, I'm really fascinated by your story concept. I love the concept of having an "alternate world" if you will that's dangerous and hostile. I love the line "you can't trust the trees." The idea that Elle thinks the three other characters were only her childhood fantasies? That's super interesting! It makes me wonder why she thought that, and why only now did she discover they weren't.


Anyway, I think that's all I have for you today! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, I'm happy to discuss!

I hope you have a fantastic day, and Happy RevMo! :D

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Nothing is impossible, for the word itself says, 'I'm possible!'
— Audrey Hepburn