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The Lion

by YuNgWrItEr


On a normal Sunday, I was walking down the road when one incident started a series of events. Like a matchstick igniting a series of crackers. I was a man of 20's, extraordinarily handsome and had a strong body. But perhaps the feature of which I was proud the most was my courage. My courage had granted me the name “The Lion”, scared of nothing and ready to take on challenges. But this series of unfortunate events converted my name to “The Cat”, startled even from a change as small as the movement of a limb. Allow me to narrate. I was walking when I perceived a projectile in front of me. So fast that it went before my eyes in an instant. Perhaps if I had been walking faster, it would have struck me and result in brain damage. But that had not been decided for me. The bad luck was decided for afterwards. The projectile struck a window and entered a house. “Mister!” - A boy called me who perhaps was the owner of the projectile. “Could you please bring my ball back, mister?” Being a kind man, I replied yes and my eyes and body turned to face the house. The house was enveloped in a coat of dust and had a certain eerie mist surrounding it. But being the lion in the situation, I did not hesitate and I pushed the door and looked inside and what a dark sight met my eyes! Everything was dark and nothing was visible. There was a pungent smell inside and it was accompanied with hints of smell of rot. I took out my phone. “Let there be light,” I said whilst opening the torch of my phone. I took a look and saw the producer of the rot smell. I did not startle for it was not enough to scare me but it was a revolting sight. Before me....the corpse of a dead cat lay with some blood around it. The carcass had clearly been here for a while. I quickly recollected my thoughts and tried to search for the ball. It was not difficult for only a few steps forward lay the ball. I grabbed it and turned around, ready to leave the house. I took a good look once again when something caught my eye. “No. How? It was just there! Where did it disappear,” said I as I realized....the corpse was not there. “Could it have been alive somehow?” My heart was going faster and faster. I felt fear for the first time. I could not move. I was cemented to the ground, sweat rolled down my cheeks. Suddenly, I felt that someone was beside me. I could feel the breathing on my neck. It felt like certain doom looking down on me. I looked aside and perceived a woman in white overalls. Her face was covered by her long hair and her hands bony. She moved slowly and grabbed my shoulder. Suddenly, she let out a shrill scream and her scream sent me flying backwards. I landed in a place which looked like a bedroom. I grabbed the mattress of the bed. The woman was advancing towards me and I desperately tried to get further from the woman. My face was covered with sweat; I was trembling so much that the bed perhaps would have shaken with me. I could now see the face of the lady. The hair had parted to make her face visible. Her face was a certain white and seemed so malnourished that the skull was visible and she had no teeth. I reached the end of the mattress, no more space left for me to retreat backwards. I let out screams of help but help did not come. I was going to die a horrible death. The lion was so scared and his final words were tearful screams of help. My head turned to the side when I saw the very instrument because of which I’m alive. I flashed the torch of my phone directly on the eyes of the demon and collecting the last of my energy, I ran and I ran. I reached the door and stepped outside. In the blinding light, I could see the dark silhouette of a boy. “Mister, are you all right? You seem quite shaken up,” inquired the boy. I looked at the boy and I gave him his ball. I struggled even in returning the ball. I had been through a truly hellish experience. This experience changed me forever. This experience changed the mighty lion to the cat.


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93 Reviews


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Tue Aug 11, 2020 12:59 am
Valkyria wrote a review...



Congrats on writing your first story on your first day! I'm a week late, but I hope you're enjoying YWS!

When I clicked on the story, the bold font struck me. This was the first text I read where the entire story was this font. It's a nice change, especially after reading deeper into this.

And the story is scary. I felt uneasy when the protagonist walks into the house. It was eerie when he comes face to face with the lady. That being said, it could do with more imagery. Sweating and heart-racing strike up fear, but the possibilities are endless!

The lion was so scared and his final words were tearful screams of help.


I do like how the story calls back to his nickname, "The Lion." The protagonist is terrified he's going to die, and he's thinking people will no longer see him as brave. I would like to see some more insight into this. Maybe he's berating himself for being a coward. For not being "The Lion." That would be a cruel punch to the stomach. After all, he is only human.

The structure throws me off a little bit. Some writers write long paragraphs. I read a short story where each page was one long paragraph. It's a style. However, I don't think it worked here. Shady explains this better in his review.

The next couple of things are small:

I was a man of 20's, extraordinarily handsome and had a strong body.


The last part is a little lofty, so I would get rid of "had a."

I was a man of '20s, extraordinarily handsome and strong.


By getting rid of the body, the reader knows the protagonist is both handsome and strong. Simple words are best.

I was walking when I perceived a projectile in front of me.


A young man in his 20s wouldn't use "projectile" unless he was working at NASA or other science-related jobs. He would use words that common people use. A good tip I learned is whoever the character is, the language they use has to make sense.

One last thing:

....the corpse of a dead cat lay with some blood around it.


I am an animal lover, and I cry whenever I see an animal in pain. As sad as it is, I'm glad it was already dead because my heart couldn't take it.

However, corpse and dead mean the same thing, so take "dead" out and the sentence still works.


I'm sorry there are a lot of nitpicks, but you have a lot of potential, and this story is spooky.

The protagonist is strong, and I hoped he was going to escape the lady.

Overall, kudos!

Athena




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Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:18 pm
WaterSpout wrote a review...



Hello, YuNgWrItEr, and welcome to YWS! I can see you went straight into it and wrote a story on your first day. Congrats!
After reading this, it is clear you've had this idea for quite some time and searched for a site to post it. Unless you didn't, in which I am wrong.
It is also clear you went for a certain mood and feel: Scary. Good job, Sherlock!
Anyways, I will point out the formatting and lack of paragraph is quite distorting and hard to the eye. I think you may have done this on purpose, so I won't be too hard on it.

I was a man of 20's, extraordinarily handsome and had a strong body.

This seems a little... cliché. It makes me uninterested in the character as a whole, because, well, can't relate(sadly).
But other things are done well, like the description when the man first entered the house.
But being the lion in the situation, I did not hesitate and I pushed the door and looked inside and what a dark sight met my eyes! Everything was dark and nothing was visible. There was a pungent smell inside and it was accompanied with hints of smell of rot.

But the other bad thing about the story is how the man got into the problem. Why would he agree to get a kid's ball back when it was about to kill him. He should have scolded him and said no. Unless that was his weakness: authority. Since the man thinks he's so brave and wants to prove it, he'll follow anyone's orders without a second thought. If not, then I don't really see why he would've done that.
But I don't want to be too harsh, so I'll say this is still interesting. It's horror, it's dynamic, and it's fun. The elements present are scary and dark, the main character changes from his initial state, and the whole thing is fun to read. And yes, there is many unnecessary big words, but there is a scary house involved. And yes, there is a cliché Samara-from-The-Ring-movie-sounding spooky character, it still invokes a creepy feeling in the reader.
I can see you're an early writer, so I won't discourage you, because I am one, too!
(Unless you aren't)
So keep on writing more stories like this, or if you want to get into another genre, go do it!
With caution,

WaterSpout




YuNgWrItEr says...


Thank you for your valuable suggestion! And thanks for writing your review in such detail! :)



WaterSpout says...


No problem!



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Tue Aug 04, 2020 7:36 pm
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ShadowVyper wrote a review...



Heya YuNgWrItEr,

Welcome to YWS! I hope you like it here! I'm Shady, and I'm going to give you a review on your short story this afternoon :)

The first impression of this story that jumps out to me is how intimidating the formatting is. The bolded, italicized text is a bit rough on the eyes -- and the lack of paragraphs makes it a bit hard to catch your breath as you're reading through this. In general, paragraphs are meant to break up text into nice digestible chunks of the story. So, where one thought ends and the next thought begins is a good place to add in a line break.

For example, in your story:

Allow me to narrate. I was walking when I perceived a projectile in front of me.


This would be a great place to break up this paragraph, between "narrate." and "I."

The "Allow me to narrate" is a clear transition into telling a story separate from describing the narrator like the first paragraph was, so it kind of allows for a shift in thought, and therefore would be a good place to start a new paragraph.

Dialogue also is a way to break up paragraphs. In general, each speaker should have their own paragraph. For example:

The bad luck was decided for afterwards. The projectile struck a window and entered a house. “Mister!” - A boy called me who perhaps was the owner of the projectile. “Could you please bring my ball back, mister?” Being a kind man, I replied yes and my eyes and body turned to face the house.


Here, I would break this up like so:

The bad luck was decided for afterwards. The projectile struck a window and entered a house.

“Mister!” A boy called me who perhaps was the owner of the projectile. “Could you please bring my ball back, mister?”

Being a kind man, I replied yes and my eyes and body turned to face the house.


You see what I did there? When there is a new speaker, it warrants a new paragraph. It shifts the attention from the ball going into the house, to the boy calling out to the narrator, to the narrator responding. This is particularly helpful if you have actions associated with the text. For example, if you wanted to re-write that last sentence, you could always do soemthing like:

"Sure, I'll grab it for you," I replied, eyeing the house uneasily as I turned towards it.

This still separates the narrator's words and actions from the surrounding text, which helps the reader keep track of who is saying and doing what.

Now, on to the actual content of the story...

I think you could make this a bit eerier by using less formal language. For example:

I was walking when I perceived a projectile in front of me. So fast that it went before my eyes in an instant. Perhaps if I had been walking faster, it would have struck me and result in brain damage. But that had not been decided for me.


Is there a reason you "perceived a projectile" instead of "something flew past my face"?

I get sometimes it's tempting to use loftier language in prose, but honestly, using common every day language makes it more accessible and easy to understand. I wasn't really sure what was going on in this scene right away. Was it a ball? A drone? Was someone launching a missile at him? It didn't really do anything to build the intrigue, it just confused me, especially when I realized all it was talking about was a child's ball.

The same sort of thing here:

I did not startle for it was not enough to scare me but it was a revolting sight


This is just a really lofty way to say this. For example, you could say something like:

"I turned up my nose in disgust, the scene unfolding in front of me nearly as horrific as the scent itself" or something like that.

There's something we talk about a lot in prose where we want to "show" rather than "tell" because it makes your work more engaging. For example, think about the following two statements:

"He was exhausted and was grateful to be home so he could rest."

"The amount of effort it took to keep his eyelids up was nearly too much to bear. His feet shuffled as he walked up to the door of his house, fumbling with his keys as he let himself into the little one-bedroom flat he called home. He kicked the door shut behind him and dumped the keys onto the kitchen counter as he stumbled towards his creaky bed in the corner of the room. He sat on the edge of the bed to kick off his shoes, grimacing as he tried to stretch the kink out of his neck, then he laid back. His eyes burned as he closed them, feeling grainy and overworked from the day, but the blanket enveloped him like a warm hug, soothing him into a much-needed sleep."

You see the difference? Besides just the length lol. They both are saying the same thing -- our MC is tired and wants to rest. But the second one is a lot more vibrant. It gives you something you can relate to. Most of us know what it's like to be exhausted to that point -- where our steps shuffle and eyes feel grainy. This imagery gives your readers something to latch on to, that's relatable, and gives a richer reading experience rather than just a factual "he was exhausted" would give us.

Your bit with the skull lady was eery and good, but could have been even that much scarier if you'd included more imagery. Maybe your MC's breath could catch in his chest. He could feel his heart racing. He could feel the rough of the wood plank that made up the wall behind him, or smell the musty scent of the mattress, or feel the woven fibers of the mattress in his fingers.

Overall, I think this was a really good story! Please don't be discouraged by my critiques! I only spend the time to write such long critiques if I think the story (and the author!) have the capacity for improvement! This is a much better story than the first one I ever uploaded to YWS was :)

I really like your concept. This was definitely an eery story to read and as I mentioned the bit with the skull lady was really creepy as I was reading through that section. I was getting nervous about whether he was gonna make it through unscathed or not!

Please let me know if you have any questions! And welcome again to YWS, I'm happy to answer any site-related questions or concerns as well!

Keep writing!

~Shady




YuNgWrItEr says...


You have told me all the pros and cons of my story in the utmost detail! To that, I thank you! :)



ShadowVyper says...


For sure! Glad it was helpful! c:




Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen.
— Homer Simpson