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18+ Language Violence

Ice Queen Chapter 10

by DragonNoir


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

Chapter 10:

I cowered in fear behind Crystall, who stood tall, brave as a lion. He changed into his centaur form, but it didn’t reassure me too much: the Black Centaur was still larger.

“So, what do you plan on doing now?” I asked, my voice going slightly squeaky. Crystall clearly noticed this and chuckled quietly.

“Don’t worry Katrina, I’ll protect you,” he said in his clement voice. “You’re the only reason I have any food, water or shelter. Just stay behind me and look at all the furniture to make it not come alive.”

“Uh-huh,” I replied. I’d be surprised if he heard me because my voice was gone like my gold medal last season.

I gazed carefully at every oven, at every drawer, at every fridge. I studied their smooth surfaces and their modern designs. Meanwhile behind me, I heard Crystall fighting the much more powerful Black Centaur. Crystall was saying weird incantations, which I could tell were a mixture between Icelandic and Latin. I could feel the temperature around us falling to the point I could see the air I breathed out shakily. He was using ice- or cold-based magic.

Jeez, I thought, Can centaurs get any more overpowered? They’re stronger, faster and can cast spells too!

That question was answered quite quickly. The answer was yes. Crystall was hurled through the air and thrown into the nearest kitchen set. He managed to go through at least three more. It didn’t take long for me to take cover behind the nearest kitchen aisle. Of course, I was looking around paranoidly at the furniture. In the short silence, I managed to hear police sirens outside. Then it struck me. My eyes widened and my heartbeat almost stopped.

If there’s the police outside, so are the reporters… I’ll be in deep shit if they see me… Even if I manage to evade them, what will I say to cover up Crystall’s identity? What about all this destruction? I have to make sure the police see the Black Centaur somehow. Actually…

I looked at my jean pocket, in which was my phone. What? I wasn’t going to call the cops before because I’d be risking Crystall’s identity to be revealed! Besides, it’s clear someone did it for me. I quickly grabbed the phone and pulled it out of my pocket. Running out from behind the fridge, I snapped a picture of the Black Centaur and dashed down, moving from side to side like a drunk. I could already hear the Monster Furniture running after me.

At that moment, I also began to wonder:

Where are the staff?

I looked to my right to see Crystall getting up slowly from the rubble of the kitchen set.

“Don’t destroy everything!” I yelled, as I ran past him. “It’ll save us some trouble and money!”

I hoped he understood, but I was more or less focused on running. I ran through the aisle, searching for any staff: it was the only way I’d have any access to the CCTV system to delete footage from the fight and our little trek into the store. I ran through the well-lit corridor of kitchen sets, hearing them come alive behind my back. I didn’t look back, knowing I would only scar my memories further.

“Anyone alive in here?!” I screamed. There was no reply. I kept on running until I reached the stairs leading to the entrance. Of course, I didn’t run past them: I could already hear who was trying to get in: the police. The Black Centaur has probably sealed the doors with some next-level magic shit. I looked directly at the Monster Furniture, freezing them in place. From there, I had to find a way to get past the entrance. I couldn’t just run past, the police would notice me and consider me a suspect. I needed to find some sort of cover. And I found it right next to me: the Monster Furniture.

I simply turned my back to them and jumped to the side. I laid my eyes on them as soon as I landed, they covered about most of the entrance, save for a few uneven gaps. I was already imagining how strange this must look to the police outside. After making a few awkward poses, I managed to get past and carried on running and searching. I called out once more

:“Anyone here?!”

This time, I got an answer. A muffled voice cried:

“Help…!”

I rushed to where I thought I heard the voice, searching desperately. Suddenly, my eyes came to rest on something utterly terrifying: a half-mutilated human body: one of the staff. I froze there. I couldn’t move. The longer I stood there, the more I was frightened. I could already hear the stirring of the Monster Furniture around me, but I couldn’t move. On the outside, I was traumatised and disturbed. On the inside, I was screaming for my body to move and get over it. When I was about to turn and run, I realised it: the Monster Furniture was gone. In their place stood their regular furniture counterparts. I sighed in relief.

God, I swear I’ll to start going to church after this. I thought. Of course, I ended up not doing that.

Without warning, a loud yell of agony resonated through the store.

I ran as fast as I could, I was still not out of breath and I counted that as a miracle. I came to gaze at Crystall in his human form on the floor. His clothes were cut almost into shreds, but most of all: he was covered in blood. Covered in shards of glass. 

“Cry- Crystall…?” I was speechless. I fell to my knees next to him. Among all the glass, his blue eyes twinkled like stars.

“Don’t worry,” he smiled warmly, “He’s gone. You’re safe now. Though I didn’t really consider that he’d shattered the windows before disappearing.”

I started tearing up.

“We’re never doing something like this ever again!” I cried. “You could’ve gotten killed!”

“I'll regenerate in a matter of hours. Besides, it was worth it to die for someone as kind as you.”

“No it wasn’t! I was drunk and that was the only reason I let you in! I am not kind! I’m anything but kind!”

“Then why haven’t you kicked me out of your house yet?”

I opened my mouth to speak, but I was rudely interrupted.

“Hey! What’s going on here?!” a police chap called. I never had much respect for the police; simply because they’re just like any other person, except that they went through some kind of training, which in my world makes absolutely no difference. If anything, that training they go through is a suicide attempt with a 55% chance of working.

Anyway, Crystall and I were suddenly surrounded by four or five police officers. I stood up from Crystall and spoke:

“I ask one thing of you before we leave,” they seemed to be listening so I decided to carry on. “Send one of your vehicles around to the back. I don’t want the reporters seeing me.”

The police officers seemed to understand. One of them called their buddies on the walkie-talkie thing and told them to drive around behind the store. Another officer was about to call the ambulance to take care of Crystall, but I quickly hit his phone out of his hand. Instead of yelling, he looked at me and listened carefully:

“Don’t call them. I’ll explain everything later. Take him as he is.”

The police officers strangely complied and led us to the storage warehouse behind the store. They managed to get a passcode from one of the staff members outside. We were heading for the police station before me and Crystall knew it. I knew they weren't acting naturally. Something was horribly, horribly wrong.

***

“So, what’s your take on this?” Officer McCartney asked. We were seated inside the small, dimly-lit interrogation room on either side of an iron table. McCartney was a man of average height and build, with quite a bit of stubble. He was very calm and collected in the way he presented himself. His back was straight as a lamppost and his face as emotionless as an emo.

“This isn’t something I can take lightly,” I replied. “I saw a mutilated corpse.”

“Yes, we’re working on identifying them. Anyway, let me rephrase that: What were you doing in there when clearly everyone was running out?”

“You’ve seen the CCTV tapes, haven’t you?” I asked, looking him dead in the eyes.

“What’s that to you?”

I pushed some money across the table, still looking at him. It was a mere £2,000.

“I want you to promise me that the footage will not be published. In fact, I want it deleted.”

McCartney laughed.

“You’re trying to bribe me? Are you hiding something?”

“No,” I replied calmly. “I’m trying to protect someone. Not from punishment, but from too much attention.”

“What are you trying to say?” he smiled in satisfaction. I knew what he was trying to get out of me.

“That my boyfriend is not human.”

He seemed unsatisfied by my response, despite his facial expression. He shifted in his chair a bit. I knew he expected me to say it directly, but I chose not to give him that satisfaction. Mainly because I’m an absolute bitch.

“What do you mean by that?” he asked.

“What’s so hard to understand? Besides, why did the police officers not protest when I-”

“Don't answer a question with a question. It's considered quite rude where I come from,” he changed from slightly annoyed to bloody triggered in less than a second, which kind of freaked me out. But then I kind of made the link and saw how alike we were. To be perfectly honest, I was tempted to add something about a small village in rural Scotland, but I decided to withhold my sarcastic remarks.

"Anyway," he continued. "If they didn't protest against your will, then I'll be having a small chat with them. Now, let's say I've seen the tapes; what does that mean to you?"

“Then you should know what this all means. I don’t want anyone finding out.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’ll put my reputation and his welfare in jeopardy.”

He leaned over the table.

“What’s with the welfare part?”

“Humans are curious creatures. Sometimes too curious for their own good.”

“You’re human your-”

“How can you be certain?” this clearly threw all his theories about me and Crystall out the window. His face suddenly - and clearly - went blank. “So, if you don’t mind Mr McCartney, please tell me I can trust you to delete or manipulate that footage and fake your reports. Unless, of course, you want a free one-way ticket to the afterlife.”

“Wait wait wait, are you threatening a police officer? That’s punishable, y’know!” he was looking for a way to retort. And he picked just the right one. For me, of course.

“You’ll punish me and what? A few years in prison? Compared to the few thousand years I’ve still got to live, it’ll pass in the blink of an eye.”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen or met anyone so bloody easy to bluff to. He fidgeted about in his chair, much to my amusement.

“Look, what are you trying achieve here?” he asked. I was wondering when he would ask that.

“I presented my aims to you twice already. Delete the footage and forge the reports. Then you’ll be safe.”

“Safe from what?”

I cleared my throat as a signal. Then, the four walls of the room began slowly frosting. The temperature in the room fell dramatically, I even got goosebumps. I nearly burst out laughing at McCartney’s terrified reaction. He was trembling, looking around the room like a maniac.

“So, do you agree to my terms?” I asked, a smug smile brightening my face.

“Yes ok! Just stop!”

As if at command, the frost slowly began disappearing. His breathing was sped up immensely as he hid his face in his palms.

“I expect the footage to be deleted as soon as possible. If not, I’ll make sure you see your ancestors.”

“Ok… Ok… Alright…” he said slowly. “Get out now... Before I decide to change my mind about your terms.”

“It was a pleasure to meet and talk to you, sir,” I held out my hand to him. He was quite surprised and shook it slowly. After that, I left the room and me and Crystall were allowed to leave without any drama.

I would tell you what happened during Crystall’s interrogation, but 1) I promised I’d keep it a secret and 2) you’d be scared shitless. Even I didn’t know that Crystall was capable of what he did during his interrogation.

Author's Note: Hello guys! Here I am with Chapter 10 of Ice Queen! Sorry for the inactivity, but I've been busy with life and PlanMo recently. Either way, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it! Please! Tell me what you'd like to see in the future in Ice Queen! It'll mean so much to me!


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364 Reviews


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Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:50 pm
zaminami wrote a review...



Hello, DragonNoir! It’s Kara here for a (hopefully) quick review!

Give me your soul.

With that aside...

STOP! Grammar time!



I'm just going to mark the ones I can with red because I'm too lazy to write explanations.

. I called out once more: “Anyone here?!”


You made a separate paragraph with these clauses. I fixed them, but still.

Suggestions:



I would tell you what happened during Crystall’s interrogation, but 1) I promised I’d keep it a secret and 2) you’d be scared shitless. Even I didn’t know that Crystall was capable of what he did during his interrogation.


This is an amateur writing mistake that screams "I don't want to tell you this because I'm too lazy to type it." You don't really need this, but I would put something from Crystall's PoV with his interrogation? I'm really interested now :3

Confusing things:



N/A

Other comments, reactions, and fangirling:



I cowered in fear behind Crystall, who stood tall, brave as a lion.


It's Crystal. **flips table**

Overall:



Overall, pretty good. Nice, satisfying fight scene, funny interrogation, etc. etc. makes for a great chapter. Keep up the great work :D

Give me your soul --

Kara

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Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:40 pm
Panikos wrote a review...



Hi, Dragon. Great to see more of this after such a long break.

Nitpicks

I cowered in fear behind Crystall


Cowering implies fear so strongly that you don't need to clarify that she's afraid.

“Don’t worry Katrina, I’ll protect you,”


You need a comma after 'worry', because otherwise it sounds like he's telling her not to make Katrina worry, which is a different sense entirely to the one you're intending. When a character addresses someone by name or by another kind of vocative, you generally need a comma before it, as in:

"Help me with this, darling."

"Did you see that dog, Ronnie?"

"You, my dear, have a lot of explaining to do."


I’d be surprised if he heard me because my voice was gone like my gold medal last season.


I like the humour you're going for, especially as it's such a trademark of Katrina's narration style, but I don't think it quite works here. It implies that Katrina lost the medal like she lost her voice, but she never actually had the medal in the first place. It's not comparing like with like.

Meanwhile Behind me, I heard Crystall fighting the much more powerful Black Centaur.


What does the fighting actually sound like? What noises can she hear, aside from the incantations that you go on to mention? There's nothing wrong with saying that she heard them fighting, but you need to include detail if you're going to bring the information to life. Tell us about clattering hooves, breaking glass, thudding blows - anything precise. You're much better than you were at including specifics, but your writing is still a bit too vague most of the time.

Jeez, I thought, Can centaurs get any more overpowered? They’re stronger, faster and can cast spells too!


1) There's something that doesn't sit right about this sentence. It might be the use of 'overpowered'. It's so closely intermingled with video games and suchlike that, at least for me, it seems odd for her to use in this context. If she said 'Can centaurs get any more powerful?' that would feel more natural. But this may be a subjective point; see what other reviewers think about it.

2) It's also odd that you use comparative adjectives ('stronger' and 'faster') but you don't actually compare centaurs to anything. 'Strong' and 'fast' would work better, I think.

If there’s the police outside, so are the reporters… I’ll be in deep shit if they see me… Even if I manage to evade them, what will I say to cover up Crystall’s identity?


This is all in present tense even though the rest of the piece is past. Either put it in italics so it's direct thought, or change it into past tense.

I wasn’t going to call the cops before because I’d be risking Crystall’s identity to be revealed! Besides, it’s clear someone did it for me


I couldn't work out what you were trying to say here.

I snapped a picture of the Black Centaur and dashed down


Dashed down what? The room? The stairs?

The Black Centaur has probably sealed the doors with some next-level magic shit.


Should be 'had'. Good line otherwise - I love the casual tone.

“Don’t worry,” he smiled warmly, “He’s gone. You’re safe now. Though I didn’t really consider that he’d shattered the windows before disappearing.”


Should be 'shatter'. This dialogue is a touch too formal, as well, so be careful of that.

“I'll regenerate in a matter of hours. Besides, it was worth it to die for someone as kind as you.”


But he hasn't...died? He's just said he'll regenerate in a matter of hours. Did you mean to say "it would be worth it to die for someone as kind as you?"

I never had much respect for the police; simply because they’re just like any other person, except that they went through some kind of training, which in my world makes absolutely no difference. If anything, that training they go through is a suicide attempt with a 55% chance of working.


This baffled me. Literally no clue what point she was making. I can understand why someone wouldn't trust the police - you might think they look after their own, that they shirk from responsibility when they make mistakes, that they abuse their authority. But why would you say that training makes no difference to a person's ability to do a job? That's like saying that a random civilian could perform open heart surgery as well as a trained doctor.

Another officer was about to call the ambulance to take care of Crystall, but I quickly hit his phone out of his hand. Instead of yelling, he looked at me and listened carefully:


There's no way they wouldn't consider that aggressive behaviour. If you whack a phone out of a police officer's hand, you're going to face consequences. Why didn't she just tell him not to call an ambulance?

I pushed some money across the table, still looking at him. It was a mere £2,000.


£2000 in cash? Even discounting how terrible an idea it is to try and bribe the police, who the heck carries that much money around with them at once?

I knew he expected me to say it directly, but I chose not to give him that satisfaction. Mainly because I’m an absolute bitch.


Say what directly? I didn't understand this. She seemed pretty direct to me.

I would tell you what happened during Crystall’s interrogation, but 1) I promised I’d keep it a secret and 2) you’d be scared shitless.


Eh, this seems like a bit of a cop out. It feels like you just got tired of writing the chapter and wanted to round it off.

Overall Thoughts

1) I'm confused about a number of things. I don't understand why the police are interrogating Katrina as if she's a suspect, especially given that they've seen the CCTV footage. If they've seen the footage, they'll have seen the Black Centaur terrorising the whole place and they'll have seen that she and Crystall were being attacked by the furniture like the rest of the staff. It seems absurd that they'd think she had anything to do with it. Sure, they'd question her, but they'd clarify she wasn't under suspicion. I can understand them taking Crystall in for interrogation, considering that he's a dang centaur and was involved in the fighting, but their treatment of Katrina makes very little sense.

I also don't get this universe's attitude to magic. Is magic something nobody knows about or is it something that everyone is aware of? The police didn't seem that unnerved by what happened in Ikea, so that would suggest the latter. But then why is Katrina trying to protect Crystall's identity so furiously? If this is a world where magic is basically a part of life, why would humans be so curious about centaurs that Crystall was under threat? There's not enough consistency.

I don't really get the end, either. I'm assuming Crystall was hiding behind the door or something, making his ice magic look like Katrina's work, but I don't see how that would be possible. Wouldn't he be elsewhere in the building, wrapped up in his own interrogation? When did they even decide on the plan and the signal, given that they were supervised by police all the way to the station? Also, why would she bribe the police when she'd already made a plan to scare them into deleting the footage?

There's also the fact that threatening to kill the officer is a truly reckless idea. For one, I'm not sure it would work. They'd probably just become even more defensive and determined to keep her in custody. Even if they did let her go out of fear, they'd certainly set about planning to ambush and disable her later. Considering that Katrina is worried about her reputation, it's beyond strange that she'd pull this kind of stunt. It doesn't just put her reputation in danger, but her life and freedom as well.

2) That said, the chapter does offer a lot of scope for long-term conflict. I really hope this isn't the last we see of the black centaur, and I hope the fallout from this incident does affect the characters and propel the story forwards. I can't imagine what specific consequences it will have, but that's what I like about your writing - you're never easy to predict.

3) Your prose continues to get better, but I think you need more variation in how you construct your sentences, because there's still a slight flatness to some of your descriptions. Let's take this paragraph as a sample:

I gazed carefully at every oven, at every drawer, at every fridge. I studied their smooth surfaces and their modern designs. Meanwhile behind me, I heard Crystall fighting the much more powerful Black Centaur. Crystall was saying weird incantations, which I could tell were a mixture between Icelandic and Latin. I could feel the temperature around us falling to the point I could see the air I breathed out shakily. He was using ice- or cold-based magic.


The way you structure your sentences around your verbs is quite repetitive. You almost exclusively lead with the agent - a person performs an action or perceives an event. However, there are more creative ways to play about with structure. Take a look at this paragraph from The Kite Runner:

The stench of something dank, like mildew, bludgeoned my nostrils the moment Karim opened the door that led down the creaky steps to the basement. We descended in single file. The steps groaned under Baba's weight. Standing in the cold basement, I felt watched by eyes blinking in the dark. I saw shapes huddled around the room, their silhouettes thrown on the walls by the dim light of a pair of keroscene lamps. A low mumur buzzed through the basement...


In this paragraph, we see a variety in the subject of sentences. Hosseini does often start sentences with animate agents ('We descended', 'I saw') but he also turns this pattern on its head. Often, he takes inanimate objects and gives them an active role in the sentence. When he says 'the steps groaned' and 'a low murmur buzzed', he gives these inanimate objects a kind of independence and autonomy, almost personifying them as living things capable of making their own noises. It enriches the description because it means that the events aren't solely perceived through the narrator, as well as adding variation.

If I rewrote this paragraph so that the sentences led predominantly with animated subjects, we'd end up with something like this:

I smelled the stench of something dank, like mildew, the moment Karim opened the door that led down the creaky steps to the basement. We descended in single file. Baba made the stairs groan as he stepped down. Standing in the cold basement, I felt watched by eyes blinking in the dark. I saw shapes huddled around the room, their silhouettes thrown on the walls by the dim light of a pair of keroscene lamps. I heard a low murmur...


It's a very subtle change, but you can see how it chips away at the description and makes it lose some of its variety and impact. On the other hand, imagine if you fiddled with the subjects in your initial paragraph:

I gazed carefully at every oven, at every drawer, at every fridge. Their gleaming surfaces winked in the light. Behind me, hooves thumped and clattered, fists hit flesh, and I couldn't look to see who had the upper hand. Crystall was saying weird incantations, which I could tell were a mixture between Icelandic and Latin. I could feel the temperature around us falling. My shaky breath misted the air; he was using ice or cold-based magic.


I've changed a bit more than just the subjects here, but you can see the difference it makes to the flow of the passage. It's a difficult thing to pay conscious attention to, but it's incredibly important to remember that good writing often hinges more on arrangement of words than choice of words. Slotting them together effectively, creating a rhythm, making sure your sentences compliment each other - that's how you get writing to have an impact. So focus not only on getting detail down, but on arranging the detail in a way that's varied and less list-like.

I'll call the review there. I'm sorry if that last point was hard to follow; I'm delirious with tiredness and I've been learning about transitivity at university this week, so that might have coloured my focus. My points for you, much as they often are, are to focus on detail and variety in your writing style, but realism in your writing content. Nevertheless, I love the surreal unpredicatability of your stories and admire the leaps you've made in bettering your style so far. Can't wait to read more.

Keep writing! :D
~Pan




DragonNoir says...


Thank you for the feedback! It's greatly appreciated! Yeah... Formatting on YWS can be a real pain at times, hence the lack of italics on Katrina's thoughts when she hears police sirens.
I'll make sure I improve my style as much as possible for the next few chapters. I'm glad you still enjoyed it despite my errors.
Once more, thank you for the feedback!

P.S. I will get to Treslam soon enough, but I've been extremely busy lately. I should have it reviewed before Halloween. :D



Panikos says...


That's fine. I've been super busy as well so I completely get it!




"We're just all nosy little busybodies."
— SirenCymbaline the Kiwi