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The Whirl

by bluelizardK


Caruthers looked down at the steely current, the waves lapping up and crashing into the rocky cliffside. He scoured for a ledge to hang onto, any small island of rock to offer respite from the relentless ocean’s torment.

His erstwhile companion, Marquette, kicked a pebble over the crag, which fell into the swirling waters below.

“Three people cast themselves into the ocean at this location. Three weeks later, near identical people appear clothesless, no personal belongings at a university in Desperado. They are kept in a secure facility, as you know, and are catatonic.”

Marquette pondered, the wind blowing his silvery hair back in wisps.

“The scientists who examined those three ...for lack of a better word, homunculi, noted that their DNA and RNA was modified. No body hair, skin thin and fragile as paper. Their eyes changed, multicolored, and they could not speak. However, three weeks earlier their car had been found near this very location, and their belongings right where we stand. They found a camera that recorded the moment of their leap. There seemed to be no motive for the action- three successful professors of world history casting themselves into the ocean. The authorities are already suspecting demonic manipulation. The first serious case in awhile.”

Caruthers didn’t answer. He continued to look into the watery abyss. L'appel du vide, the French had called it. The call of the void. Something prompted those three to leap into the whirlpool. A sacrifice? A suicide? Why that landmark, that location?

“Marquette, why? Would they cast themselves into such a remote and obscure whirlpool, of all places, if they didn’t know prior-hand that something was different about Argillum’s Whirl? We haven’t seen a demon since the war. The peace sent them back into the Netherworld, so if demonic manipulation is suspected must mean that a demon has poked its filthy head back into our world.”

“I’m glad you’re theorizing. The Institute has sent us to test that theory. We cast something into the Whirl, and see if sometime late a homunculus turns up in Vale University. The professors videotaped their jumps, so obviously they found some significance here.”

Caruthers followed Marquette back to the car. They returned moments later with a small box.

“Dr. Marquette, what’s in the container?”

Marquette opened the box to reveal the contents-- a sedated Pomeranian.

“Oh. Subject for the day?”

“Better than throwing a human in there.”

Marquette steadied his hand and undid the lock, dropping the box by his feet. He picked the dog up, and prepared to throw it over the edge, but was interrupted by the exclamation of Caruthers, who was teetering dangerously over the edge.

“Caruthers? Eli!? Stay with me now, man. There we go, stay with me. Is something getting into your head?”

Caruthers felt the void calling him as he peered over the edge with his foot as close to the multi-yard drop. He smiled as he stepped over, and careened into the churning waters as a frantic Marquette called down.

A week later, a man, hairless, pronounced heterochromia, appeared naked and covered with viscous fluid near the Amber Relic at Vale University in Desperado. He was unable to speak, had no memory, and looked just like the recently deceased demonology intern E.N Caruthers. He was kept in containment with the other homunculi.

As he was visited by friends and acquaintances alike, researchers and demonologists who prodded at his skin and injected him with various serums, he felt the need to scream, to shout, to say something. But he could not. His mind was still running full speed after his encounter with the void under Argillum’s Whirl.

His soul, however, had been plucked away by the emerging demon that had begun to awaken under the churning blue.


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98 Reviews


Points: 12053
Reviews: 98

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Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:16 pm
Asith wrote a review...



Hello! Firstly, I'd like to say that this is a really interesting short story, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Theses types of short stories are my favorites to read, so I'm always glad when one ends up on YWS :)
Moving on to my actual review:

I think that your general vocabulary is worth commendation. You have sophisticated language that is flowery -- but not too flowery -- that really suits the style of story you're going for here.
Your writing itself seems to be well-practiced; you have a solid understanding of good sentence structure, pacing, description, and narration. My criticisms lie outside of these things (i.e. your writing techniques are lovely, let's focus on what you're actually writing.)

“Three people cast themselves into the ocean at this location. Three weeks later, near identical people appear clothesless, no personal belongings at a university in Desperado. They are kept in a secure facility, as you know, and are catatonic.”

I'm using this quote as an example of an issue that seems to plague your hole story -- exposition dumping. You're trying to throw as much information at the reader as possible, and you're doing it in a way that doesn't feel entirely natural. This specific case, since it's dialogue, could also be seen as 'talking heads'. The problem is that it feels very strange for a character to recount events like this, as if they care about telling the reader what's happening. Yes, it makes sense for the character to be contemplating the situation out loud, to the other character, but it doesn't make sense for the detail-by-detail recap. The only reason this would make sense is if this is the first time Caruthers is getting the situation explained to him, but that makes even less sense, because he should definitely have been briefed earlier.
You also tend to exposition-dump in your narration sometimes, although that's a far less noticeable issue, and could just be called a narration technique. I'd definitely suggest that you caution yourself with this type of thing :)

Second, what's the purpose of the story? Short stories, although small, should be standalone stories. So far we've got the premise of people falling off the cliff and being turned into homuncli by the demon of the void, but what else? Nothing? That's not very satisfying! What exactly is this demon of the void? What's happening to the homuncli? Where does the study go from here? The short story doesn't feel complete as it is; it's just a few interesting scenes. Try expanding on this idea; stretch it out further! It couldn't hurt to try :D


Hope to read more from you; always great to see more mysterious short story writers here!




bluelizardK says...


Thank you so much for the critique, it shed some light on some concerns I had with my own writing :)

I definitely did initially want this to be a story that ended with no satisfying conclusion, but I think I'll definitely expand on it now. With more natural dialogue next time, for sure!



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Sun Sep 22, 2019 11:31 pm
Dossereana wrote a review...



Hi @bluelizard I am here to do a review on your short story here, so lets get strait into it shell we.

Caruthers looked down at the steely current, the waves lapping up and crashing into the rocky cliffside. He scoured for a ledge to hang onto, any small island of rock to offer respite from the relentless ocean’s torment.


Okay so I just sure a spelling mistake here so let my correct that.

cliffside< cliff side
See it was just a simple spelling era that can easily be fixed. I really like how this started of, I love the name Caruther as well. There was lots of images like paintings just crossing my mind. the images kept on changing. It was really good to read. I liked it the second I started reading the first line.

His erstwhile companion, Marquette, kicked a pebble over the crag, which fell into the swirling waters below.


I liked this line, just I am not sure if the erstwhile goes in this line. I'm going to put this into suggestions for you, and the stuff that I change will be in bold letters. also I still really like this story so far, your doing a great job.

Suggestions

His friendly companion, Marquette, kicked a pebble over the crag, which fell into the swirling waters below.


So I hope you like the suggestion that is here there is only one word that was changed.

So that is all that I can say. I hope I was not being to harsh or mean if I was then I am really sorry. So keep up the great work your great at writing.

I hope you have a great Day/Night

@Dossereana Out In The Sky Of Reviews




bluelizardK says...


Thank you so much Dossereana for both the compliments and the critique, and I would say they are well-warranted. You totally weren't being harsh or mean, so thank you for that as well :D



Dossereana says...


I'm glad that I could help you out. :D




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