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What do the dead leave? Second Draft

by cm57105

"What are you going to do now?" Evan murmured. I looked down the alleyway and sighed. It was no use, we wouldn't find the car anyway. We had been searching for a couple of hours, just round the back streets. The alley was full of illegally parked cars but none of them where the green color I was looking for.
"Caleb, its been two years! I'm sorry but I think we should stop." Evan said it then turned away, like I couldn't hear. I turned sharply towards him. Who did he think he was? He had no idea what I had been through or what had happened.
No one did.
"I'm not giving up on my own mother if that's what your hinting at." I had my back towards him so I didn't see his painful expression. Evan had lost his mother too, in a car accident. But he had his dad. I had my foster mum and three rowdy kids. Caitlin, twelve, David, 14 and the bully, Alec, who was 17. Rachael and Jeff where ok but they weren't great to me.
"I'm just saying, what are the chances where going to find her killer? The car is probably gone by now" I flinched away from him as he said these words. He quickly tried to backtrack but it was no use.
The damage was done.
"I didn't just lose my mother. I lost everything." He looked at me, his brown hair hiding his dusty blue eyes. I could tell he understood for he bowed his head and we continued walking. I sometimes wondered if he was all there, he always hid his emotion so well behind his hair.
The Westminster streets where crowded at this time of day, men in suits, woman with prams. I tried to block it all out and focus on my footsteps. One after the other. Evan sensed my mood and we walked in silence till we came to the apartment he shared with his dad. His dad is a real estate agent. Super cool and nice to Evan. The apartment block was ugly, modern. But the inside of there apartment was comfy and cool.
I tried to smile as his dad, Ryan came to the door but it froze on my lips. Ryan looked a lot like Evan, with styled brown hair and high cheekbones. Evan waved goodbye then hurried off with his dad. Sometimes when this happened I felt like Evan was a ten-year old and I was the only fifteen year old in the world.
I tried to focus on my footsteps but it was no use. I simply couldn't think straight. What Evan had said just kept cycling through my brain. Was it time to give up the search for my mother's killer? I had been searching for two years. But I couldn't bring myself to stop. This was the one thread that held my sanity to the book of life. Ever since Dad had left it had just been me and her. And then that god awful day when the police had come... And I had known before they had crossed the threshold. The next few moths I can't remember. Therapy, anger, pain and then nothing.
Sometimes I would get flashes of seeing my dad and mum together. My mums name was Dakota Richards, my dad's Samuel Jameson. Sam was tall, with glasses and a mane of blond hair. Dakota, well she looked like me. Black hair like a raven and bright green eyes. Sam had always been so warm to him. And Dakota, well she had been a wreck since Sam died but he still loved her.
As the streets grew darker a muffled coughing came from behind me and I spun around. Standing only a few meters away was a blond girl, about the same age as me. Tall and willowy she cut an impressive figure beside me. I tried not to look into her sky blue eyes but it was no use. She looked at me expectantly and I blushed as she walked over to me. My face hardened, I wasn't letting her see weak in me. Her eyes where a strange blue, a quiet amusement held in them. Superior.
"What do you want?" I said as brusquely as I could. She noticed this and slid a business card out of her immaculate coat.
"Look I only want to say this once. You need something and I need something. This will help you. But you need to help us as well. Call when your ready." She looked at me so thoroughly that I was reminded of an X-Ray scan. As I stood a few inches taller than her I tried to impress my height.
"You know what you want. You've wanted it for two years now. I can help you get what you want but I need your service in return. You can help me I know you can." Her voice cracked on the last word and I looked down at my feet. Why did she have to be so Barbie- like! She smiled as if she could read my thoughts.
I wanted my mother back. That's what I wanted.
"How can you bring her back?" My voice shook with anger. Who did she think she was? Granting me wishes like a fairy god mother! I stalked off, my boots slapping in the mud. I looked behind me but the girl was gone. Well good riddance! I hated Barbie's and I hated her. The immaculate nails, the hair... No I wouldn't let her get to me, ignoring her was the way to go.
I reached into my hoodie pocket and brought out the black card. One word shone it like ice. I lifted my eyes slowly form the writing and let it drift from my fingers. But the words where still printed in my mind.

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178 Reviews

Points: 852
Reviews: 178

Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:14 pm
Paracosm wrote a review...

Hey there, CM!

I'm going to do a quick review. I'll start with some technical things that stood out to me. Next I'll touch on characterization. I'll especially touch on motivation, ticks, and dialog. I hope my review helps!

Evan said it then turned away,

How did he say it? This is an instant where a dialog tag will add a lot of emphasis to what your character said. Did he spit the words at him? Did his voice almost trail off, as regret sunk in? Those details will add a lot to the dialog in your story.

I turned sharply towards him.

'sharply' doesn't really seem like a fitting word here. How does one turn sharply? I think something like 'abruptly' could be more effective.

Caitlin, twelve, David, 14 and the bully, Alec, who was 17. Rachael and Jeff where ok but they weren't great to me.

You started off writing your numbers as words, (twelve), and then you shift to writing them in numerical form. Be sure you keep your numbers consistent, so if you start with words for numbers, keep it that way.

The car is probably gone by now"

You need punctuation at the end of dialog. If it were just a word, like this: "word", it's not necessary to use punctuation. At the end of dialog, it is required.

Evan sensed my mood and we walked in silence till we came to the apartment he shared with his dad.

"till" should but "'til" or "until".

Super cool and nice to Evan. The apartment block was ugly, modern. But the inside of there apartment was comfy and cool.

There are two fragments right in a row right here. The last two could actually be one sentence, and that would sound awesome. The first one could then be left a fragment. As I've ranted a million times before, fragments are starting to become acceptable in fiction writing, when they are used for effect. But still, it's always best to use them sparingly.

And then that god awful day when the police had come...

"come" should be "came".

My face hardened, I wasn't letting her see weak in me.

Weakness, just a little typo.

Call when your ready."


As I stood a few inches taller than her I tried to impress my height.

I think 'impose' would work better in place of 'impress'. Impose would imply he is trying to gain some leverage in the conversation, impress makes me think of impressing an idea into memory.

You can help me I know you can."

There should be a comma between 'me' and 'I'.

One word shone it like ice.

The 'it' should be removed.


Your character has a good motivation, but we don't have much background as to why he is searching for the green car. We're kind of tossed in the middle, a little bit more background to your story would emphasize the motivation and make your character feel more realistic.

I enjoyed your character's tick! Focusing on the sound of his shoes when he is walking, in order to stay focused, is a nice touch.

Your character's dialog didn't feel too realistic at times. Why was he so mad at the girl who was trying to help him? He shouldn't be so brusque to the person who has info that's going to help him on his hunt. It seems to me he would be desperate.

You have a lot going for this story. Keep up the good work, and always keep honing your skills. If you have any questions about anything I've brought up in this review, feel free to PM me. Good luck, and keep writing!

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166 Reviews

Points: 10240
Reviews: 166

Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:03 pm
Charlie II wrote a review...

Hey cm57105!

I really enjoyed reading this. It's a little short in length, but you successfully cover the important points of a good beginning. You've introduced a protagonist and his motivation which is *really* good. I read a lot of opening chapters on the site where writers haven't grasped these concepts, so this is great to see.

I do, however, have a few points of constructive criticism. I think that maybe you overload the reader with names a bit at the beginning. I understand that both Evan and Caleb are going to be important in the story, but maybe we don't need to know the names of their siblings and parents just yet? It feels like there might be a quiz at the end of the chapter on the names (because mentioning them makes them feel like they need to be remembered).

I think it would be a bit better to develop the main characters some more, like Evan and Caleb and also this mystery girl who appears on the scene. I think the conversation between Evan and Caleb is a little brief at the start. Maybe there is more for them to talk about or spend a bit more time arguing over the situation.

The only other thing I can really say is that there were a few typos in the piece. This could be easily corrected if you go back and read the piece to yourself aloud. For some reason this technique helps you to spot little mistakes in wording and you'll be able to correct the few mistakes like that.

Other than this, keep writing. It's good to see well-written work in the literary area. If you post another part of this story then I'd be happy to read it and maybe review that too!

When you cut pieces out of the truth to avoid looking like a fool, you end up looking like a moron instead.
— Robin Hobb