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Solitaire ~ Chapter One

by LadyTano


Prologue/Chapter One - The Desert at Dusk

Villalobos, USA

Present Day

Night comes fast this time of year. When the crickets start to chirp and the squirrels snuggle into their tails, the creatures of the dark make their appearance.

Right at the turn of dusk, the coyotes are the first to announce their presence with a chorus of otherworldly yips and howls, warning the smaller desert animals of the hunt, and awakening the burrowing owl who shuffles out of his cactus nest. After yawning and stretching his wings, he hoots and takes flight to catch that night’s meal and the prey has one more predator to worry about. As the last of the sun slips past the horizon, the stars are hung in the sky, one by one, like sparkling diamonds.

The red fox quietly slips out of her underground den at the first call of the coyote. She dodges among the Saguaro cacti, wholly unnoticed by all of the desert inhabitants. Every night she hunts the small birds and mice to feed her family, but seldom does she catch any bigger prey, because they are hard to catch alone.

Every night, I also go out at the first call of the coyote to wander among the cacti and desert flowers. And every night, even amongst the raw beauty of the landscape, I long to be back home, in the city. Back home, where cars are constantly whirring past and where the skyscrapers touch the clouds in the sky. Where I felt safe and happy, living with my parents in our spacious apartment. We were content, and to us, there wasn’t a worry in the world.

I had been a carefree child, and my only concerns were my family and my friends. I never worried about the state of the city or the growing numbers of poverty and crime. I didn’t know of the growing numbers of patients in the hospitals or the depleting sums in the city treasury. I didn’t notice the buildings and streets going unrepaired, or the lines of unemployed citizens.

But I don’t long to be back during those cold nights when I had to fend for myself and my wits were my only source of survival. When I had such a fierce mindset, such a thirst for revenge. When all I did was pick up my bow, draw the electrified arrow back against the string and aim for that dark figure. I still feel the same dread as I did when I heard the electric pulse of the arrow discharging from the bow.

In all my dreams, I relive that moment a thousand times over. I always tell myself not to do it, not to let go of the arrow. But every time, the arrow whizzes through the air, straight at its target. I always wake up shaking, silent tears running down my face, my guilt eating me up from the inside. I don’t know if he is still alive or not, whether my arrow that pierced him right in the back killed him immediately or let him die a slow agonizing death.

I relived that moment night after night until the point that sleeping in the dark is too painful for me. That’s why I walk among the cacti and desert flowers at dusk, to remember him and pray to God to forgive me. But I never feel any healing or peace. All I can think about is that I, Alexandra Emmanuel, killed the only person left in Gotham City who cared about me.

********************************************************

Thanks for reading the first chapter of Solitaire, guys! Stay with me till chapter two, when the action and mystery begin! (I'll tag you when it comes out if you comment below!)


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275 Reviews


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Reviews: 275

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Wed Jan 26, 2022 5:23 pm
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MissGangamash wrote a review...



Hello! Here to review!

I like the opening, it's very simple and flows well. The focus on the predator waking alongside the main character gives me the impression that the MC considers herself a predator of sorts too. I didn't know this was fanfiction until I got to the end, I have no idea about this character so I am simple reviewing what I've just read.

Again, with the mention of the mother fox having to hunt alone makes me think this was intentional, now that the MC seems to be alone fending for herself - does she have people she has to look out for?

I prefer the first half to the second. I got a little confused by the end. I think a clearer description of the difference between the MC's old life to where she is now would help the reader feel more grounded in the piece. I can't put my finger on it, but the second half felt a little flip-floppy. From what is being described, I feel like it should be dark and gritty, but it's written so matter-of-factly that it reads a little lacking.

I understand that you probably want to keep the details vague but even a more vivid image of their old life and that night they fired the arrow would help solidify this beginning. Make the reader feel what the MC is haunted by every night. Put them there with her. The fear, adrenaline, whatever it is. Let us feel it.

You mention her only concern was her family and friends, so I am guessing something happened to them - and again, you probably want to keep it vague for the prologue, but it would be good to give us something to hold onto before we dive into the main story.

Hope this helps!




LadyTano says...


Thank you, this is very helpful!



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Tue Jan 25, 2022 12:27 am
HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: This was a lovely little scene here to start off on. I love the way it focuses on the one thing but what we get is a sort of scene where we're almost sort of zoomed out into a big picture before slowly focusing on the main trouble at hand. It created a neat bit of suspense I think.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Night comes fast this time of year. When the crickets start to chirp and the squirrels snuggle into their tails, the creatures of the dark make their appearance.

Right at the turn of dusk, the coyotes are the first to announce their presence with a chorus of otherworldly yips and howls, warning the smaller desert animals of the hunt, and awakening the burrowing owl who shuffles out of his cactus nest. After yawning and stretching his wings, he hoots and takes flight to catch that night’s meal and the prey has one more predator to worry about. As the last of the sun slips past the horizon, the stars are hung in the sky, one by one, like sparkling diamonds.

The red fox quietly slips out of her underground den at the first call of the coyote. She dodges among the Saguaro cacti, wholly unnoticed by all of the desert inhabitants. Every night she hunts the small birds and mice to feed her family, but seldom does she catch any bigger prey, because they are hard to catch alone.


Okayy....well this is a really fun little environment that you've got here to start things off. Its creating a very interesting image right away with this and there's a lovely bit of a setting slowly taking shape there. Its a solid way to start a piece off right here.

Every night, I also go out at the first call of the coyote to wander among the cacti and desert flowers. And every night, even amongst the raw beauty of the landscape, I long to be back home, in the city. Back home, where cars are constantly whirring past and where the skyscrapers touch the clouds in the sky. Where I felt safe and happy, living with my parents in our spacious apartment. We were content, and to us, there wasn’t a worry in the world.

I had been a carefree child, and my only concerns were my family and my friends. I never worried about the state of the city or the growing numbers of poverty and crime. I didn’t know of the growing numbers of patients in the hospitals or the depleting sums in the city treasury. I didn’t notice the buildings and streets going unrepaired, or the lines of unemployed citizens.


Ooooh, now this is creating a stark contrast there right away. From what was clearly a rather wild place here with all sorts of animals we have some far more distinctly human imagery from a very human perspective and now it ties into tie a very interesting first picture here for things.

But I don’t long to be back during those cold nights when I had to fend for myself and my wits were my only source of survival. When I had such a fierce mindset, such a thirst for revenge. When all I did was pick up my bow, draw the electrified arrow back against the string and aim for that dark figure. I still feel the same dread as I did when I heard the electric pulse of the arrow discharging from the bow.

In all my dreams, I relive that moment a thousand times over. I always tell myself not to do it, not to let go of the arrow. But every time, the arrow whizzes through the air, straight at its target. I always wake up shaking, silent tears running down my face, my guilt eating me up from the inside. I don’t know if he is still alive or not, whether my arrow that pierced him right in the back killed him immediately or let him die a slow agonizing death.


Ooooh, things get even more mysterious I see, now it seems this person has run away from something a little more than just a bad world out there but rather also some sort of past that they wish to forget, which immediately now makes things much more complicated.

I relived that moment night after night until the point that sleeping in the dark is too painful for me. That’s why I walk among the cacti and desert flowers at dusk, to remember him and pray to God to forgive me. But I never feel any healing or peace. All I can think about is that I, Alexandra Emmanuel, killed the only person left in Gotham City who cared about me.


Ooooh, well I very nearly forgot this was a fanfiction there for a second, but of course...this ties it all nicely here to end things here. I think you've done a really nice job of slowly building upto and revealing this moment here. It works quite well in slowly painting a picture before this big moment is finally bought across and we end right on that.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, I think we've got ourselves a pretty solid opening chapter there. It definitely catches your interest at any rate and I definitely find myself wanting to read more here.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




LadyTano says...


Thank you so much, Harry!



HarryHardy says...


You're Welcome!!




I have writer's block. I can't write. It is the will of the gods. Now, I must alphabetize my spice rack.
— Neil Gaiman