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16+ Language Mature Content

Darkman's Hour- Chapter One

by TheCrimsonLady

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

Thursday, September 4th, 2014, 10:14 pm, Boston

I switch on the light when I get home. My cavernous house opens before me, and I shiver in the dark. "Mom? Are you home?" There's no reply, so I pad up to my parents' bedroom and push the door open. The bed hasn't been slept in, and the lamp is collecting dust. I pull it shut again and sigh.

Of course, it would be asking too much of my parents to come see me more that twice a year.

As I drag my luggage up the stairs, a lone light flickers on in the kitchen. "Natty?" Hopefully our housekeeper knew I was home. Her reedy figure emerges from the darkness, and I go give her a quick hug.

"I knew you'd be coming home, so I figured I'd wait up a bit for you. Now if you'll excuse me, miss, we'll take your luggage upstairs and I'd better be running back home to my kids." She hoists a bag into the air and starts up the stairs. I grab my purse and jog up after her. Just before she leaves, she turns, and adds, "Oh, I nearly forgot to tell you! There's been a message for you. I stuck it on the pad near the phone."

I thank her and watch from the window until her car speeds away, leaving me completely alone. I let myself feel, finally, and sink to the floor, unable to keep up the pretense of being alright anymore. My breath catches in my throat, coming out as a tinny rattle. I sob, but no tears come. Why did I have to fight with him at the last moment, after an entire glorious summer?

Why can't I cry? People don't realize what a blessing it is to be able to cry, to let go. But my body wouldn't let me do that; it wouldn't give me that sweet pain of relief. I stuff those feelings down, ignoring my guilty conscience, and go over to the phone table to find the message Natty said I had received. The lamp switches on at the press of a button, and I hold the pad closer to my face, my hands trembling in a mixture of fear and anxiousness.

Ava says to call her immediately. The word immediately is underlined twice. I furrow my brow. What was Xavier's sister doing, calling at this time of night? It'd be around three am for her in London. I dial the number anyway and sit down. She picks up on the second ring.

"Anne! Is that you?" She sounds like she's been crying, and her voice is wobbly still.

"Ava? What are you doing, calling my at this time of the night? Haven't-"

"Anne, listen to me. Xave's in the hospital. He-"

When I speak again, my voice is nearly a shriek. "Hospital? Why's he in the hospital? What happened to him? Ava, you have tell me!"

I hear her gulp on the other side of the phone. "Xavier was hit by a drunk driver the night you left. He's... he's in a coma." She pauses, and when I don't say anything, adds, "I'm sorry."

My lungs won't work. Or the room has no oxygen left in it. I can hear Ava sniffle on the phone, but it sounds far away, like I'm not here anymore. Finally, just as the room starts to blur, I can breathe again.

Coughing, I fall to the ground. "Are you alright, Anne?" Ava sounds worried.

"I... I don't... no. I'm not alright. My best friend is in the hospital, and you expect me to be perfectly fine?!" My voice raises in pitch until I'm yelling at her.

She yells right back at me. "Your best friend? He's my twin brother! You think I'm not completely torn up inside?"

"Actually, no! You talk to your brother maybe five times a year. So you can take your stupid pity stories and shove them up your ass, where they came from!"

"Really? Everyone knows that the only reason you hang around my brother so much is because you fancy him. And anyway, who'd talk to him with you around? He worships you! Everybody else is worth less than dirt to him."

"Well, maybe if you stuck around for him when he needed you, he'd treat you better!" My temper gets the better of me, and I slam the phone back into it's cradle, hanging up.

The reality of it all hits me, and I run for the bathroom. I barely make it to the toilet before my stomach heaves, and I throw up my dinner.

I curl up on the cold tile. "Xavier..."

Sometime later, I find the strength to stagger back to my room. Stripping my clothes off, I fall into bed. The sharp edge of my nightstand pricks my finger as I search blindly for the bottle of sleeping pills that should have been there. I grasp it, and gulp down some cold water to wash them down. The soft linen settles around me, but my body searches for someone next to me. Someone who's not there. Who might never be there again. I dig my fingernails into my palms to keep myself from thinking. Instead, I speak aloud to distract myself.

"Please, please, let the pills work. I can't wake up screaming, not tonight. I'll do anything..." The drugs kick in, and I sink into sleep, still murmuring the name of the only person I cared about.


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25 Reviews

Points: 491
Reviews: 25

Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:31 am
Chanta1234 says...

omg this is good also u need to write more

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463 Reviews

Points: 12208
Reviews: 463

Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:04 am
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megsug wrote a review...

Hey Aurora!
Phew, AF covered a lot. I'll see what I can add.

Okay, first, you have some really tiny details in your writing, and it's so intriguing when I find those little nuggets of deliciousness like: "The sharp edge of the nightstand pricks my finger as..." If you had more of this throughout the chapter, the pictures your reader creates would be very crisp and clear.

However, there are a few things that are just cheesy about this situation that I'm afraid won't get better without the correct intervention such as:

Of course, it would be asking too much of my parents to come see me more that twice a year.

Why can't I cry? People don't realize what a blessing it is to be able to cry, to let go. But my body wouldn't let me do that; it wouldn't give me that sweet pain of relief.

He's... he's in a coma.

He's my twin brother!

I barely make it to the toilet before my stomach heaves, and I throw up my dinner.

still murmuring the name of the only person I cared about

So, I tried to add the big pictures that won't be going away anytime soon and also the little details that are, frankly, just ridiculous.

1. Her parents don't care about her at all? Not only do I still find that unbelievable after all of the stories and movies I've seen this in, but it's way overused. It's a shortcut, so the terrible parents don't have to be characterized and the plot can move on, parent-free.
2. ...Her body won't let her cry? ...Because she was born without tear ducts? While some people don't cry as much as others, I find it very hard to believe that she physically can't cry. There would be a lot of health concerns if she didn't have tear ducts. Not to mention, it makes Anne sound over dramatic
3. I think I've read this book before.
4. This doesn't necessarily have to be cheesy. It just seems like in a lot of teen fiction, siblings are either twins or they don't exist.
5. Now, I will admit that I have never received a call where someone is telling me that someone I love is in a coma, but I think it would take a lot to make someone throw up because of emotional turmoil. I mean... She can't cry, but she can throw up? I don't think that makes sense.
6. I mean, this is just a lazy cry for pity, so that the readers like your character. Surely she has someone else. The housekeeper, for example.

Okay, so that was really rough with no mercy given, but it's over now. I just felt like I needed to point out like this sounds like every teen fiction novel ever. I don't really see anything to spice it up.

With the meanness over, I can tell you that I think, right now, Ava may be my favorite character. I don't really know that much about her, but she must have something going on if she can call a girl she doesn't really seem to like because she mattered to her brother. That's very intriguing. I'll be interested to see what else happens.

Alright, that's all I've got for you!
Lemme know when the next chapter is out,

Thank you for both reviews, since I forgot to thank you on the prologue!
It's great criticism. That being said, I only started this because I had writers block and wanted to write anything to get those creative juices flowing for my actual works in progress. So this kind of suck right now, but I'm hoping to make it better.... later.

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10 Reviews

Points: 555
Reviews: 10

Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:35 am
almurs13 wrote a review...

WOW. I'm already caught up on the story! I love how it starts with drama in the first few paragraphs. It's BEAUTIFULLY written, not too complicated and uses great vocabulary. I feel what the character feels, you have great ways of making the sadness, desperation and hurt show in your words.
I'm definately going to keep reading this. Here you have a new fan! :)

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423 Reviews

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Reviews: 423

Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:32 pm
Vervain wrote a review...

Hello, darling!

First of all, I don't read much realistic teen kind of fiction. It's not really my genre. However, there are a few points that carry throughout all sorts of fiction, so I'll bring those in here.

Your hook: Where is it? They say that in a novel, you have three pages to grab your reader's attention -- approximately 750 to 900 words -- but if you don't catch them from the first paragraph or so, they aren't going to read on (unless they already bought the book and think it would be a waste not to read it). As far as your beginning goes, I have a small sense of setting, but no sense of character or conflict -- and a good beginning needs at least two of those to work, really.

Once we get a couple of paragraphs in, it starts to get more interesting. However, this is offset by the fact that your prose is really clunky, and it sounds like the narrator is standing outside of her body and talking about it. A lot of your sentences have the same short length in a row, and that gets monotonous and boring (I have the same problem sometimes, trust me). Then, when you have a longer sentence, you have a lot of commas (some of them horribly misplaced) or a lot of adjectives and such that a teenage narrator wouldn't really use unless they were looking at a freeze frame of the scene.

As a rule, you don't put a comma before a verb when it's the same person performing the action. For example, if you were to say "I turn, and she writes", that's correct; "She turns, and writes" is incorrect.

I find your characterization is a little inconsistent. We don't have a good sense of your narrator (we're in her head), and we don't have a good sense of Ava. We don't know why Xavier is so important, really, and we get a glimpse of it from Anne at the very end, but that's purple and not how a person would really talk at all.

I think my biggest piece of advice, besides "get a hook", is "learn a modern person's voice". There's hardly any real emotion in your writing, and you're writing in first person -- you need Anne's emotion to be running rampant in this work, and once you have too much, you can tone it down a little.

Keep writing!


But my body wouldn't won't let me do that; it wouldn't won't give me that sweet pain of relief.

What was is Xavier's sister doing, calling at this time of night?

And thanks :)

Vervain says...

Overblown. Too poetic for how a person actually talks. See:

Thanks, love.

"There is nothing to fear from someone who shouts."
— Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart