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The Beauty of the Unknown: Chapter 2 - Ashes to Ashes

by JulietWrites


Reggie looked away from the window she had been staring at for over ten minutes. She had thought she had seen an animal of some sort in her yard, but she couldn't find it. She dismissed it as a trick of the light. More like a trick of the shadows, since the evening had cast her backyard into muted hues of grey and blue.

 “Heyy, Re-e-ggie. Earth to Regina!” someone yelled. “Go away,” she said bluntly, pushing her brother, Eric, and walking away. “And if you ever call me Regina again, I’m going to kill you. For real this time.” He trailed along behind her. “Aww, Reggie, you have to play with me. Mom said.” She whirled around, poking a finger in his chest. “You are being a pest!” she said, each word punctuated by a sharp poke. “I don’t care“ he pouted. “It’s your fault for not paying attention to me. Maybe I’ll set myself on fire. Or jump off the roof by accident. Then all you’ll be able to do is say ‘Oh, I wish I had paid more attention to dear, sweet-‘“ 

“Did you see that?” Reggie gasped, snapping him out of his rant. “Oh, come on. You don’t actually think I’m going to fall for that, do you?” he said, grinning. But something about the tense way she waited, no trace of mischief in her eyes, made it fade. She crouched down, eyes just above the top of the windowsill. “Eric. Get. Down.” She whispered through gritted teeth. He crouched down as well, and saw what she saw. A huge, silver backed wolf prowled around the perimeter of the house. This wasn’t like any wolf she had ever seen at the zoo. Its’ paws alone looked the size of her face. 

“Eric,” she whispered, taking him by the shoulders and looking earnestly into his eyes. “I’m going to call the police now. Get below the window, and whatever you do, don’t move.” He nodded wordlessly, eyes round. He watched as she crawled to the kitchen, grabbing the phone. “911, what’s your emergency?” Reggie wondered how someone could be so calm when she was in such danger. She wondered if she had ever done the same to someone else. “Hi, my name is Regina Charleston, and there’s a huge wolf outside of my house.” “Are you certain this counts as an emergency? Is the wolf being particularly aggressive, or attempting to attack?" Even though the wolf hadn't actually tried to attack yet, Regina didn't particularly want to find out. For the sake of better safe than sorry, she said "Yes. He's scratching at my door." "Alright. Give me your address and I'll dispatch an animal control group as soon as possible." "435 Roland Drive. Please, please hurry, I don't know what to do, I'm so scared..." "Calm down. You said your name was Regina, right? Well, Regina, I can honestly tell you that everything is going to be all ri-"

The line went dead. and Regina clung to the receiver, hoping against hope the dispatcher was right and they would be here soon. She crawled to her brother. “She said they’ll be here right away,” she whispered. “Are you all right?” He nodded again, still watching her like she was his only hope. She craned her neck over, and by accident, met the eyes of the wolf. She gasped but could not tear herself away. His eyes were like two glowing yellow whirlpools, sucking her deeper and deeper. Her throat constricted. Then, without warning, he lunged. Stupid stupid stupid. You know you’re not supposed to look animals in the eye! her brain screamed at her. Regina grabbed the hand of her brother and yanked him away from the window, flattening her back against the wall facing the window. She could see him snarling, glaring out at them. 

She breathed a sigh of relief. Surely he couldn’t— A scream tore from her throat as she saw the beast throw his full weight against the window, sending minute cracks splintering through the glass. He repeated the action, this time sending a triangular chunk to the floor. She didn’t think. She just acted. She turned the key in the lock, shoving open the door. She ran down the street, not pausing to see if the wolf was still chasing her, still tugging her brother along with her. They were racing across the lawn, jumping over the curb, bolting down the street. Eric stumbled and she didn’t even think twice, pulling him to his feet and scooping him up. They came to a dead end, so to speak. It wasn’t really a dead end truly. It was a bridge over the Holsan River. Her back was pressed against the metal edges of the bridge, her bare feet scraping against the cement of the ground. 

Faintly she noticed that her feet were bleeding, but she pushed it aside. She didn’t care. The hem of her white nightgown was dark with dew from the grass. It hung loosely off one shoulder. She still carried Eric in her arms. Her dark hair had come loose from its elastic and her cheeks were flushed with heat. The wolf was snarling at her, moving closer every second. She looked over her shoulder at the roiling depths below. Could she? Should she? She whispered in her brother’s ear. “Eric. Listen to me. I’m going to have to jump. Don’t close your eyes, and hold your breath. Don’t worry. I won’t let you drown.” He looked at her, fear choking his words. “Reggie- I’m scared.” She mustered up a wavery smile. “Don’t be. I’m right here, remember. Now, trust me.” those were her last words before she gathered her strength and jumped.


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Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:06 am
ShadowVyper wrote a review...



Hey Juliet,

Shady here with a review to rescue your chapter from the grasps of the Green Room. I haven't read the previous chapter, but I hope to find something helpful to comment on nonetheless. My style tends to be to make comments as I'm reading about anything that stands out to me and then give a general summary of my thoughts about the piece at the end. Let's get started...

“Heyy, Re-e-ggie. Earth to Regina!” someone yelled. “Go away,” she said bluntly, pushing her brother, Eric, and walking away.


Okay, so a good general rule of thumb when deciding on paragraphs is that any time there is a new speaker you should also have a new paragraph. That makes it a lot easier to keep the characters' actions and dialogue separated from one another, to make it clearer to the reader who is doing and saying what.

So, in the example that I quoted, you should have a paragraph break after "yelled" because the "Go away" is a change of speaker from the first dialogue. Consistently throughout this chapter you don't separate the dialogue into different paragraphs and it's making it difficult to read.

She gasped but could not tear herself away. His eyes were like two glowing yellow whirlpools, sucking her deeper and deeper.


Ooh, this is excellent imagery. I approve. Great job here :)

She turned the key in the lock, shoving open the door.


Why in the world would she think she would be safer outside than she would be inside? Clearly the wolf is trying to attack, and is powerful. So why run outside where he is even more likely to be successful, rather than say, to a bathroom with no windows? Or something like that?

Don’t close your eyes, and hold your breath.


Did you really mean to tell your brother don't close your eyes and hold your breath??

~ ~ ~

Wow! That's a really intense chapter! I like all the tension and panic that you weaved into this story and the fear that follows. You had several really beautiful sentences with amazing imagery, so super good job there.

I definitely would recommend working on your paragraphing to make your dialogue easier to read.

But awesome job on that cliffhanger! Definitely makes me wonder what is going to happen next!

Keep writing!

~Shady 8)




JulietWrites says...


Thank you so much! Your comment was probably the most helpful out of all of them. I've been trying to work on my formatting, and this is good information.



ShadowVyper says...


Sure thing! Glad it helped! :)



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Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:00 am
AmadeusW says...



Is this a werewolf story?




JulietWrites says...


Hmmmmm... maybe...



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Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:49 pm
TheMulticoloredCyr wrote a review...



Hello again! Sorry, it took so long, I'm at school and I have this big sewing project to get done by next week, so I've been cutting out the pattern in between doing this and my other projects. (yes, I know I haven't gotten far, but I just got this project, so don't judge me).

So, you already know how I typically do things, so let's get into it.

"Reggie looked away from the window she had been staring at for over ten minutes. She had thought she had seen an animal of some sort in her yard, but as usual, she was mistaken. “Heyy, Re-e-ggie. Earth to Regina!” someone yelled. “Go away,” she said bluntly, pushing her brother, Eric, and walking away. “And if you ever call me Regina again, I’m going to kill you. For real this time.” He trailed along behind her. “Aww, Reggie, you have to play with me. Mom said.” She whirled around, poking a finger in his chest. “You are being a pest!” she said, each word punctuated by a sharp poke. “I don’t care“ he pouted. “It’s your fault for not paying attention to me. Maybe I’ll set myself on fire. Or jump off the roof by accident. Then all you’ll be able to do is say ‘Oh, I wish I had paid more attention to dear, sweet-‘“ "

So, as far as opening paragraphs go, this one is...mediocre. The first thing that you need to know is every time, and I mean EVERY SINGLE TIME, a new character speaks you MUST start a new paragraph. So, this single paragraph should actually be a lot more. Other than that, the line, "...but, as usual, she was mistaken." is misleading and off-sets the tone of this chapter. Something I learned about writing chapters is this, if it starts out with one tone, or mood, then end it on a different one. You can see this in some of my most recent chapters, as it is something I only learned recently. You do an okay job of this, but the tone is too muddled at the beginning to tell. You have the typical sibling banter and I think you were going for a suspicious undertone, but you kinda messed that up with the aforementioned line. That line is written as if it were narration, and it's the narrator's job to tell it like it is. If the narrator says she's wrong and you make her right, then you've just contradicted your narrator and the readers won't trust it/them for the rest of the book.

Okay, moving on.

" “I’m going to call the police now. Get below the window, and whatever you do, don’t move.” He nodded wordlessly, eyes round. He watched as she crawled to the kitchen, grabbing the phone. “911, what’s your emergency?” Reggie wondered how someone could be so calm. “Hi, my name is Regina Charleston, and there’s a huge wolf outside of my house.” “Alright. Just tell me your address and I’ll send help right away,” “It’s 435 Roland Drive. Please hurry. My brother and I are home alone, and-“ “Calm down. I’m sending help right now.” The line went dead. and Regina clung to the receiver, hoping against hope the dispatcher was right and they would be here soon. She crawled to her brother. “She said they’ll be here right away,” she whispered. “Are you all right?” He nodded again, still watching her like she was his only hope. She craned her neck over, and by accident, met the eyes of the wolf. She gasped but could not tear herself away. His eyes were like two glowing yellow whirlpools, sucking her deeper and deeper. Her throat constricted. Then, without warning, he lunged. Stupid stupid stupid. You know you’re not supposed to look animals in the eye! her brain screamed at her. Regina grabbed the hand of her brother and yanked him away from the window, flattening her back against the wall facing the window. She could see him snarling, glaring out at them. "

Again with that dialogue thing, but I'll overlook that to get to the other problems with this. First and foremost, the police don't hang up on callers. It's protocol to stay on the phone until whoever they sent gets there. If that wasn't the case then the caller could get hurt, do something stupid, or even die without the police knowing right away. Also, you say the wolf lunged, then... what? Nothing comes of that and it reads rather oddly.

Okay, onward we go.

"She breathed a sigh of relief. Surely he couldn’t— A scream tore from her throat as she saw the beast throw his full weight against the window, sending minute cracks splintering through the glass. He repeated the action, this time sending a triangular chunk to the floor. "

How freaking big is this wolf?!?! Most wolves are, indeed, pretty big and heavy, but it's like having a German shepherd slam against a window, it's not going to crack. I'm just going to assume that this is a creature from the 'other world' for now and let it be.

Anyway, it's overall pretty good so far, not blowing my mind, but I'm just one person who should not be the basis on which you base your success. Keep writing! I'm excited to read further!

Bye bye now!




JulietWrites says...


Thanks so much!




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