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16+ Language

Straddling the Grave [Chapter 1.2]

by Magebird


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

Rated 16+ for Emi swearing once.

The road was just as empty as it had been when I had been walking home from the bus stop. The neighbors who usually spent their afternoons tidying up their gardens and yards were nowhere to be found; the heat was too much for even them. I hadn’t exactly expected to see anyone on a hot day like today, but it wasn’t all that reassuring to be walking through an empty street after seeing a ghost. I could use the comfort of another person.

I started to hum Livin’ on a Prayer underneath my breath. I knew I should have brought my earbuds on my makeshift trek, but the past was in the past. I’d have to trust my memory - and see if the song could last me until I reached the library. The more I walked, the louder my humming got. By the time I reached the street it was on, I had an entire performance going on - my body swaying to the tune, and the hum becoming a soft but audible cover of the actual lyrics.

Which was when I bumped into a man lingering in the shadows of one of the many trees littering the side of the road.

“Hey!” I exclaimed. “Watch where you’re going.”

The man had been staring at a house on the other side of the road with dark eyes – so dark that they were almost black. He turned to look at me with a mix of disbelief, confusion and exasperation. It was a look I was very familiar with. “You bumped into me.”

“You’re the one standing on the side of the road,” I argued.

“Is it a crime?”

I faltered.

The words should have had some sort of bite to them - it felt like he was trying to make fun of my insistence that he had wronged me. But something about the tone and how soft-spoken he was just seemed...innocent. Like he seriously didn’t know if it was a crime or not. Which, obviously, was a little weird, but he wasn’t a ghost. I hadn’t gone through him.

It was just two weird things in a single day.

“...No,” I grumbled. “It’s not.”

He let out a quiet, relieved sigh.

“I apologize for getting in your way, then,” he said.

Now he sounded amused.

I frowned and slipped past him.

There was a pause. A few moments passed. Just when I thought I was in the clear - and just when I was starting to step onto the library’s property - the man suddenly tapped me on the shoulder.

I spun around.

“What?” I said.

“I’m lost,” he admitted. “I’m here to visit a friend of mine, but I can’t find their house. Can you point me in the right direction?”

I hesitated.

Something felt off and wrong about this. I could have gone rushing into the library. I should have gone rushing into it. But there was just something about him that made him intriguing; something strange that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

A sigh escaped my chapped lips.

“What’s the address?” I asked.

“35 Woodland Court.”

“...I see,” I said. “If you don’t mind me asking, what’s your friend’s name?”

The man faltered.

I wasn’t sure why he wasn’t answering me on that one, but my suspicions had been raised. Maybe he really was planning on visiting a friend there. Maybe he wasn’t. Whatever the case was, I wasn’t planning on sharing any information with him until he answered some of my questions.

“You sound protective,” he commented. He wasn’t looking at me anymore. He was looking at some random speck on the horizon; I could practically hear the gears turning in his mind.

I crossed my arms and shrugged.

“I’m just curious,” I innocently replied.

His gaze returned to me.

“You don’t trust me,” he guessed.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

The man sighed and ran his fingers through his surprisingly long black hair.

And then, suddenly, his expression changed. The frown that had been dancing across his lips turned into the beginnings of a smile. His eyebrows lifted up. And there was a kind of...twinkle in his eyes, like this was the best thing that had possibly ever happened to him.

“You live there,” he said.

Well, that little charade was up.

“Yeah,” I said. “No shit. Why else would I be asking so many-”

He was gone.

The man was gone.

I blinked, rubbed my eyes, and pinched my arm - wincing at the pain - for good measure. But no matter what I did, the man was nowhere to be found. He had vanished into thin air, just like that ghost had before.

A chill ran up and down my spine.

Even in the scorching almost-summer sun, I couldn’t help but feel cold.

...I rushed into the library.


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19 Reviews


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Reviews: 19

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Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:52 am
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Vita wrote a review...



Hey there, Vita here for another review. We learn a bit more about your main character's personality in this chapter, and so far, I like what I see. Your main character, (I don't think they have a name yet,) seems really funny and relatable. I also see you've kept up your trend of good descriptions. Excellent work!
My only two critiques would be:
"The road was just as empty as it had been when I had been walking home from the bus stop." This first sentence is too wordy. You use "had been" twice, which is unnecessary. I'd suggest shortening it to: "The road was as abandoned as it had been when I walked home from the bus stop."
Second, I would have liked a bit more description of the ghost man. We don't learn much about him other than the fact that he has dark eyes.
Overall, great work. this was a really interesting and engaging chapter, and I look forward to seeing what happens next.




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Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:51 am
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HarryHardy wrote a review...



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

And now for part 2.

First Impression: Well this comes together really well with the other part to create quite the opening chapter.

The road was just as empty as it had been when I had been walking home from the bus stop. The neighbors who usually spent their afternoons tidying up their gardens and yards were nowhere to be found; the heat was too much for even them. I hadn’t exactly expected to see anyone on a hot day like today, but it wasn’t all that reassuring to be walking through an empty street after seeing a ghost. I could use the comfort of another person.


That's a pretty nice little opening paragraph. Very nice bit of exposition.

The man had been staring at a house on the other side of the road with dark eyes – so dark that they were almost black.


Very interesting description to start things off.

I hadn’t gone through him.


Some ghost you can't pass through. (This has been a random fact brought to you by resident of the Underworld)

And then, suddenly, his expression changed. The frown that had been dancing across his lips turned into the beginnings of a smile. His eyebrows lifted up. And there was a kind of...twinkle in his eyes, like this was the best thing that had possibly ever happened to him.

“You live there,” he said.

Well, that little charade was up.


This is the most interesting part right there. Great hook for the readers right there.

A chill ran up and down my spine.

Even in the scorching almost-summer sun, I couldn’t help but feel cold.

...I rushed into the library.


Nice little ending to cap things off right there.

And that's it.

Overall: I still feel like those one sentence paragraphs were a bit overused. But other than that there were some great descriptions, the emotions and the personality of our protagonist is coming out really well. All in all I would love to see where this goes in the future chapters.

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

Stay Safe
Harry




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Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:50 am
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EternalRain wrote a review...



Hello!

Wait, omg, so are ghosts frequent in this world? That’s what it’s seeming like, especially based off this comment:

Which, obviously, was a little weird, but he wasn’t a ghost. I hadn’t gone through him.


In that case, it seems a lot more probable for Emi to assume the woman was a ghost, haha. And, if so, I’m left with so many questions!! (That I’m sure will be answered in the future). It certainly makes me wonder how prevalent ghosts are in this world!

Emi’s banter with the ~spooky man~ was pretty good! I definitely feel like she’s a brave, bold, and outspoken character—I mean, she had no trouble arguing a little bit with the man! I think this can be really good for her (adventure!!) but also might lead her into to some trouble, as we can see that this encounter didn’t end up the best for her.

I would comment about how it seems more practical for Emi to simply just shrug and say “I don’t know where that house is” after the man asked about the address but I’m wondering if that’s a bit out of character for her!

“Yeah,” I said. “No shit. Why else would I be asking so many-”


Also, I feel like she wasn’t asking too many questions! Really, the only question she asked was “what’s your friend’s name” which is (a bit) weird but I think fairly reasonable. I like the tone that Emi’s comment gives off, though!

He turned to look at me with a mix of disbelief, confusion and exasperation. It was a look I was very familiar with.


I hope we get more elaboration on this in the future (I don’t think elaboration here is necessary—I just am looking forward to why Emi gets so many looks like this. Does she get in trouble often at school or maybe her mother gets mad at her? :0)

Alright, so that’s about it for my review! I’m really, really enjoying this so far. At the moment I can’t exactly tell at the moment if ghosts are a thing Emi only strongly believes in, or if they’re like a known presence in this world, but either way it’s clear ghosts are a big thing in this novel which is super exciting!

Peace,
~EternalRain





You are going to love some of your characters because they are you, or some facet of you, and you are going to hate some characters for the same reason.
— Anne Lamott