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Unorthodox Thieves (Chap. 18): Paranoia and Boredom Mix Surprisingly Well

by EnderFlash


Lucius twisted his head, and seeing that the two were still whispering, went back to staring a particularly tall weed. Well, at least he thought it was one. It was thin and tall, with no apparent flowers or even leaves, so he labelled it as a weed. He kicked its base, and it tipped over but didn’t reach the ground. Stubborn. Just like him, really, although he’d rather not compare himself to a pointless plant.

Now that his mind was focused on a dried stalk, he was reminded of the fact that he had not drank water since Chris left yesterday. He ran his tongue over his lips, but they seemed to dry up just as fast. Staring at the dark green blades of grass, he wondered how pathetic he would look chewing those up. Definitely not something he’d like others to see, Lucius mused, and stomped on the thin weed. Seeing it plastered to the ground amongst its shorter relatives gave him a petty sense of superiority, and Lucius congratulated himself for experiencing what was probably the lamest triumph ever.

“Oi! Luc!” Wila called, and Lucius turned around to see the two standing a bit further from each other than before. “We’re done. Let’s go.”

“What?” Lucius ran over, confused. Did she mean to continue into the forest? He looked at Mikhail and saw that the boy’s expression, or lack thereof. They must have come to an agreement of sorts, and Lucius was offended to realize that they kept him out of proceedings. “I never agreed to this!”

“’Course not. We did.” Wila smirked and Lucius noted that she had put her knives away at some point during the conversation with Mikhail. Back in her sleeves, no doubt, although Lucius wasn’t quite sure how she kept them there. “Now you can succumb to peer pressure or be alone.”

“That’s a jerk move,” Lucius said even as he sighed in acceptance. “I should be way more concerned about you leading me to my prospective doom.”

“I should be the one concerned,” Wila responded with a roll of the eyes. She began to shuffle backward to the forest, obviously not wanting to wait a moment longer. One foot felt the immediate area for obstacles before advancing, although she still stumbled over a twig within seconds. “I saw you fight. No offe- oh, who am I kidding? You, to be blunt, suck at fighting. Big time.”

“Thank you for the obvious,” Lucius growled, avoiding her eyes. There was, unfortunately, nothing noticeable in the vicinity to distract him. “I never learned any fancy combo moves, alright?”

“I’m not expecting you to hadouken or anything, cool as that would be,” Wila said, shrugging, “but you can’t deny it. It’d be really awesome if you could just hide in a bush when we find enemies. You know.”

“Eh, she’s right…” Now Mikhail was agreeing with her, and that was definitely a smile he was suppressing. “... You could be safe and we’d… avoid some terrible hostage situations…”

Lucius didn’t answer, his face beginning to burn, and stepped away from them so that it was clear that he was looking at the closest tree, not Wila. It was a very normal tree and the embodiment of the ones a child would draw: clumps of green leaves, snaking branches, and a straight trunk. Lucius was frustrated to once again find nothing interesting to stare at.

“Is that pink I see?” Wila crowed in delight, swooping in. She clasped her hands together and pivoted so that she was no longer walking backwards but besides Lucius. “Mikhail, I think Luc’s embarrassed!”

Mikhail turned away and Lucius just knew that he was laughing. The albino fiddled with the uppermost button on his plaid shirt and looked straight forwards again, his lips curved upwards.

“Shut up, Wila. I still don't trust you,” Lucius muttered, digging his hands into his coat pockets. He tipped his head forwards and let his hair fall in front of his face, just in case he was blushing. “Can we hurry up? I don’t want to be busy not dying in the woods while Reyna and Claud return and realize that we’re not there anymore.”

“I thought you were the one who was complaining the most before.” Despite her teasing, Wila sped up her pace and the three stepped past the first tree soon enough. Her footsteps were just a step away from skipping.

Lucius’s gaze flitted around the trees, remembering the blood splatters on those grooved trunks and how the grass drowned in scarlet pools. The silence, an unnatural state of no birds and the still air, made him expect to hear a gunshot any moment now. He bit his lip and hunched over, hoping that they’d find no one and get out.

Wila seemed to notice his wariness and patted him on the back, which wasn’t comforting at all. If anything, it was like the chidings of a person who’d been through worse; to get over it. Her lack of words was interpreted as exasperation, not understanding.

Lucius frowned. He was getting too paranoid for his own good.


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Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:45 pm
niteowl says...



Hi there EnderFlash! Niteowl back for the Sanguine Warriors. Let's see if we can't get the rest of your work out of the Green Room!

Now that his mind was focused on a dried stalk, he was reminded of the fact that he had not drank water since Chris left yesterday.


Wait, so he hasn't drunk water for an entire day? Water is probably the most critical aspects of survival, so in the real world, he'd definitely be suffering by now (as would the others, I suspect). I suppose the rules could be different in the arena, but this still seems strange.

“Thank you for stating the obvious,” Lucius growled, avoiding her eyes.


This is nit-picky, but I think a verb is missing here.


“I’m not expecting you to be a hadouken or anything, cool as that would be,”


So this is another video game reference? It's kind of weird and dates your characters. Plus we've already established that Lucius doesn't even know what actors are, so it seems weird that he doesn't question this reference at all (even internally). I'm also going to echo what a previous reviewer said in an earlier chapter: it is very strange that Lucius grew up poor and yet has no fighting abilities whatsoever.

Overall, I think the pace is picking up and I'm curious as to what happens in the forest. Keep writing! :)




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1210 Reviews


Points: 29861
Reviews: 1210

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Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:34 pm
niteowl wrote a review...



Hi there EnderFlash! Niteowl back for the Sanguine Warriors. Let's see if we can't get the rest of your work out of the Green Room!

Now that his mind was focused on a dried stalk, he was reminded of the fact that he had not drank water since Chris left yesterday.


Wait, so he hasn't drunk water for an entire day? Water is probably the most critical aspects of survival, so in the real world, he'd definitely be suffering by now (as would the others, I suspect). I suppose the rules could be different in the arena, but this still seems strange.

“Thank you for stating the obvious,” Lucius growled, avoiding her eyes.


This is nit-picky, but I think a verb is missing here.


“I’m not expecting you to be a hadouken or anything, cool as that would be,”


So this is another video game reference? It's kind of weird and dates your characters. Plus we've already established that Lucius doesn't even know what actors are, so it seems weird that he doesn't question this reference at all (even internally). I'm also going to echo what a previous reviewer said in an earlier chapter: it is very strange that Lucius grew up poor and yet has no fighting abilities whatsoever.

Overall, I think the pace is picking up and I'm curious as to what happens in the forest. Keep writing! :)




EnderFlash says...


Why did I even decide to write about something that prioritizes survival? I need to sort out their daily needs at some point... Thanks, though xP

Mm. I live in an averagely well-off community and I don't encounter different living standards a lot, so forgive my ignorance. I hoped to make it so that Lucius, while poor, doesn't live in a overly violent neighborhood and prefers to go about unnoticed. Is it too far-fetched?



niteowl says...


Perhaps not, but violence tends to accompany poverty and you have mentioned that he had a habit of going to the richer areas of his old world, where he'd probably be met with suspicion. Plus I have trouble equating "people getting killed for their organs" with "not overly violent".



EnderFlash says...


That market was mainly rumors that raised caution, so people wouldn't be disappearing off the streets... every day, anyhow. I think it's a little late to change Lucius's (in)competence, but I promise that I'm writing all these suggestions down in a document for the rewrite.



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Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:30 am
Ventomology wrote a review...



I have home internet again, so here I am, ready to (mostly) catch up! Let's get on with the show, shall we?

General Comments:

1. I don't like picking on minor errors, but they're becoming a regular thing now. I assume they come from your rushing to finish by the deadline, but that's no excuse to not go back and proofread the next day or whenever you're free again.

Just remember: half of your reputation as a writer really does rest in proofreading. We don't like to say it does, and as fellow writers, a lot of the people on YWS understand the struggle, but non-writers tend to dislike errors with passion. You want to broadcast competence so that readers can focus on your ability, not your faults.

In short, remember to proofread!

2. A lot of the verbs you used this chapter were pretty strong. :)

Details:

None this chapter.

Plot, Characterization, and Misc. Items:

1. Mikhail's lessened stuttering is more noticeable now. Good job!

2. I can't really see what Mikhail and Wila are up to, which is probably what you're going for, but I'm not sure their plot has come across as suspicious or innocent (or however you want it to sound at this point) very well. Dropping a few obvious hints would also give you space to either debunk or confirm whatever instinctual predictions a reader might make.

I think that's all for this chapter. Hopefully I'll catch number 19 tomorrow, but I make no promises. Until next time!
-Buggie




EnderFlash says...


I am absolutely terrible with proofreading and it doesn't help that I'm pretty weak-willed, so I usually don't end up pushing myself to reread things either. Agch, I'll work on it.




But answer me this: how can a story end happily if there is no love?
— Kate DiCamillo, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane