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Trainees Take on the Apocalypse Prologue

by KateHardy


A void. So dark that light as truly absent. It had been this way for a thousand years. And without it, the surface o the now shadow world hadn't been seen in millennia.

That was, until this moment. A tiny flame, fading rapidly in and out of existence like it was fighting some unknown entity, flickered to life. It was green, a pale sickly color that looked as dead as the land it had just appeared on. It was a light so small that in any other situation you'd hardly notice it. On this world, it was the brightest light seen in millennia, pinpricks of green illuminating a jagged plain. The light brightened, the flame getting stronger as the flickering started to diminish. The color shifted, starting to look more vibrant, tones of a brilliant emerald-green swirling faster and faster within it. The light shone brighter.

The jagged plain gave up more of its long preserved secrets. Veins of translucent grey running through the surface, flowing to an unknown epicenter. There was movement down in those veins. Tendrils, blacker as the darkest night, twisting and turning with a pattern no being could hope to recognize.

The light shifted again, it was no longer flame but a focused beam of light. Emerald green lit up the entire plain. Then it cracked down the middle, a rift opening in space, a window into another world. The crack widened, the edges smoothing out the wider it got. It expanded until the edges were perfectly straight, the now square gap several feet in width. A man stepped out from between the light.

He looked out of place in this world. Faded jeans that could’ve been any color, now glowing green in the light, a hoodie that proudly stated, “Dark Lord To Be” and a hat that looked like it was stolen from a pirate costume. He surveyed the land.

He trampled over the shadowy tentacles, barely paying them any heed, even as it was clear they sensed him, their unfathomable patterns shifting in response to him. They knew.

Behind him, two more figures stepped through.

One of them was clad in a long robe, only it was white and the tie across the middle suggested it was clearly a bathrobe. The man’s hair was in a long ponytail, and the violent shade of pink was so pink it was almost its own light source. The other was slightly more dignified, in a long, black trench coat, His face was covered up with a pair of star shaped sunglasses and a more traditional hat, one that did not have cartoon pirate symbols.

The trio began a march, following the translucent membrane to its epicenter. Their portal and its glowing green light followed behind them obediently, slowly illuminating this dark world, one crack at a time. Their journey did not take long. A mere ten minutes in, the membranes got denser and denser until at one point they converged, all meeting on one large circle on the ground.

Below it, the movement was the strongest, hundreds of the shadowy tentacles, moving in a dizzying chaos of motion. They'd all spotted the intruders, the movement still erratic but beating at the six feet planted firmly on the membrane.

Pirate Hat smiled, like he’d just spotted a rich vein of gold. He barked something at the other two who promptly fanned out, the three of them together forming a triangle. A word was uttered by Bathrobe, conjuring a glowing orange ruler that spread between the three, marking out a distance until they were standing equally far apart from each other.

The ruler dissolved into darkness.

There was an audible gulp from Bathrobe and Trench Coat. Pirate Hat barked another order and the two of them brandished a coin each, as Pirate Hat did the same. Pirate Hat began to chant, his voice echoing across the formerly silent plains of the shadow world, enveloping it like a harsh wave engulfs a hapless sinking ship. It cut through the plains bringing sound to a world that hadn’t heard a single word in millennia.

As he chanted Bathrobe and Trench Coat joined in, their voices adding to the cacophony of sound. The sound rose higher and higher as the spell went on, their voices rising in pitch until by the end it was indistinguishable from a shill shriek in the dark. Right as they reached their apex, the membrane at the very center suddenly cracked. It was small, barely visible in the light, hardly as wide as a hair.

They seemed to have been aiming for that however, because the chanting ground to an immediate halt, Pirate Hat leaning down to inspect the damage even as Bathrobe and Trench Coat leapt away from it.

Pirate Hat outlined the little crack, watching as the tentacles down below suddenly changed their tune. The chaos seemed to shift and swirl, and the shadows that had been focused on their feet now had a new focus, all the tendrils yearning and twisting toward one tiny spot.

The rupture in the membrane.

Pirate Hat smiled, a genuine full toothed grin. He almost looked charming. Gesturing towards the other two, he broke into some sort of contorted victory dance, jumping up and throwing his hands in the air as he did a spin.

Bathrobe and Trench Coat exchanged a look that suggested this was not an uncommon occurrence. Bathrobe shrugged and moved towards their portal. They stepped through, never turning back as they disappeared, dissolving into shadow before fading into nothing.

There was a loud “harrumph” from Pirate Hat who gave a disappointed look in the direction of the portal as he finally stopped his victory dance. He turned to blow a kiss in the direction of the shadow, muttering something under his breath. Pirate Hat stormed towards the portal, swinging an arm behind his back like he was swishing a cape before he stopped, kicking the ground and muttering a curse. Muttering yet more under his breath, he stepped through the portal, looking less like the experienced dark lord to be and more like a petulant child.

The portal began to close as slowly as it had opened, the square collapsing; turning jagged, the light starting to dim, and the color paling. Soon, it was back to the sickly green flame, barely there, fading rapidly in and out until it went out completely.

It was a featureless void once again, silence restored like nothing had even happened. And then.

A faint cracking sound and a gentle buzz, steadily increasing in volume.


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Wed Jun 12, 2024 2:55 pm
goodolnoah wrote a review...



Image

Hello there, one of King Koopa’s loyal henchmen, here!

Hello there! ~ Writing Commentary

This is quite the interesting prologue indeed! From the mysterious, seemingly fractured dark world to the colorful (also mysterious) characters who leave the story just as fast as they enter!

The light shifted again, it was no longer flame but a focused beam of light. Emerald green lit up the entire plain. Then it cracked down the middle, a rift opening in space, a window into another world. The crack widened, the edges smoothing out the wider it got. It expanded until the edges were perfectly straight, the now square gap several feet in width. A man stepped out from between the light.


Your description of this seemingly interdimensional portal opening is awesome! It feels violent, as ripping a hole in space-time ought to be. I love the way you describe light in this entire prologue, you’ve clearly identified it as an important piece of life in this world.

He looked out of place in this world. Faded jeans that could’ve been any color, now glowing green in the light, a hoodie that proudly stated, “Dark Lord To Be” and a hat that looked like it was stolen from a pirate costume. He surveyed the land.


The “pirate hat” man is probably my favorite part of this prologue. The hoodie that states “Dark Lord To Be” reminds me of your title “The Princess of Darkness”. It feels somewhat “auteurish”, since this is the first work of yours I’ve read.

There was an audible gulp from Bathrobe and Trench Coat. Pirate Hat barked another order and the two of them brandished a coin each, as Pirate Hat did the same. Pirate Hat began to chant, his voice echoing across the formerly silent plains of the shadow world, enveloping it like a harsh wave engulfs a hapless sinking ship. It cut through the plains bringing sound to a world that hadn’t heard a single word in millennia.


Every move here feels intentional despite it being shrouded in mystery. A group of mysterious men doing a ritual dance and song to revive a planet perhaps? Again, the descriptions of the dying, black land is super cool, and I can paint an especially vivid picture in my head. I also like the endless cacophony of tentacles that is described here. It really adds to the chaos.

Pirate Hat stormed towards the portal, swinging an arm behind his back like he was swishing a cape before he stopped, kicking the ground and muttering a curse. Muttering yet more under his breath, he stepped through the portal, looking less like the experienced dark lord to be and more like a petulant child.


The interesting thing about the characters here is that they don’t seem to be forces for good, and they also seen quite…inexperienced? From the hoodie to Pirate Hat doing a childish dance before he jumps out of the portal. Interesting indeed…

A recommendation…

A void. So dark that light as truly absent. It had been this way for a thousand years. And without it, the surface o the now shadow world hadn't been seen in millennia.


You may want to replace the “as” with “was” here.

Everything is pretty good aside from this!

Love and…Dark Lords... ~ Story Commentary

This prologue is very intriguing, and I can’t wait to read more! I like the setting of “other worlds” and such so this certainly sticks out to me. It feels like you are going somewhere quite different if this story is continued on, and I would like to know where you go!

A Speck of Light ~ Closer

Will it be about a group of people trying to help bring the world back from extinction? Who knows! I look forward to more, if you decide to continue this little story.




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Tue Jun 11, 2024 12:00 am
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Spearmint says...



waiiiiiit a second, this looks familiar... ;)




KateHardy says...


xD I'm finally editing it and posting the full thing



Spearmint says...


whoooo!! :D



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Mon Jun 10, 2024 9:32 pm
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emilyrebecca wrote a review...



Hiya, I thought I'd stop in for a quick review!

I love the intensity and the slightly cold open with limited context. I also really appreciated the character descriptions which all made me laugh in their absurdity, especially because the characters were referred to by nicknames based on their nonsensical garb for the whole story. It didn't take away from the intensity, as much as it just gave a distinctive voice to the narrator that could be very charming.

One possible improvement that could be worked on is diversifying the language use just a little bit. It wouldn't be as noticeable in a longer work, but given the length some of the descriptors that are used more than once feel repetitive, mostly in the beginning. The ones I picked up on most were, "jagged plain," and "millennia."

I think the strongest and most distinctive thing about this work is the narrator's voice. It's almost Neil Gaiman-esc and just really balances the intensity with comedy in a very fun way. Overall, this was such a fun read and I'm really excited that I finally caught a series early on! I can't wait to keep reading and will be sure to review the first chapter as well!

-Emilyrebecca🐢




KateHardy says...


Thank you for the review!



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Mon Jun 10, 2024 7:42 am
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WeepingWisteria wrote a review...



Hello, bestie! I'm here for yet another review. I seem to be on a roll with your work lately.

This is a dramatic beginning to a story you got here. It leaves many questions, which is always suitable for a beginning, and acts as one self-contained piece (something some previous beginnings of yours have struggled with). Overall, it does its needed job and thus is an excellent base to work with. However, there are a few minor cosmetic problems that I'd like to address. With that in mind, let's dive into the story.

...that light as truly absent.

I'm pretty sure that the bold word should be "was."

And without it, the surface o the now shadow world hadn't been seen in millennia.

Two things here. One, the bold word should be "to." Secondly, without what? Without the dark, the shadow world wouldn't have been seen? But the shadow is there. Is the shadow new? Or is it supposed to be, "With the shadow, the surface hasn't been seen?"

...a hoodie that proudly stated, "Dark Lord To Be" and a hat that looked like it was stolen from a pirate costume.

This is amazing. Genuinely hilarious. 10/10.

...and the violent shade of pink was so pink

The double pinks here come off as a little repetitive.

He barked something...

This is my main issue with this work. You never tell us what "Dark Lord to Be" is saying. It feels less like building a mystery and more like hiding things for the sake of hiding things. We can see what the two are doing in response to these commands, so hiding them from the reader doesn't accomplish much. If you want to establish that the commands are in a different language, you can write something like: He barked something that translated roughly to, "Borg go and kill tentacles."

...looking less like the experienced dark lord to be and more like a petulant child.

Kate, you're so funny. It's one of the best qualities of your writing. You're effortlessly amusing.

A faint cracking sound and a gentle buzz, steadily increasing in volume.

And the plot thickens. I guess I have to come back for Chapter One. If someone dies in a car crash in the first chapter, I'm suing you.

Overall, this is a good prologue. Just a couple of things need tweaking to become even better. I'm intrigued and very excited about Chapter One. Thanks for publishing, Kate! I enjoyed reading and the idea of following you on this journey.

Happy Writing!
Wist




KateHardy says...


Thank youuu for the review! And *gasp* is that a threat?



WeepingWisteria says...


Does it need to be? :)



KateHardy says...


Nuuu its a very safe chapter one I'm suree




“All stories are true," Skarpi said. "But this one really happened, if that's what you mean.”
— Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind