WritersBeat.com
 

Go Back   WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Fiction

Fiction Novel excerpts, short stories, etc.


The price of life (first draft)

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 10-22-2017, 04:17 PM
Lockette's Avatar
Lockette (Offline)
Abnormally Articulate
Official Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 143
Thanks: 14
Thanks 44
Default The price of life (first draft)


Wilson leant forward, knocking on the door with a gloved hand. He coughed into his hand. New York City didn’t agree with him. The air was putrid. He was used to the country air. You only smelled shit if you were downwind of cow farm. Here it was likely to get dumped on you as you walked the street.

He stepped back and the door opened, revealing a young woman. She was short, with blond hair to her shoulders. She was wearing a modest dress, what you’d wear around the house.

“Mrs. Miller?” Wilson asked, tilting his head slightly to the side. His gesture calmed the young woman, who was visibly shaken. “Yes, come inside, I’ll go make tea,” She stepped aside and went gliding through the spacious apartment. It was furnished plainly, but not poorly. They weren’t poor.

Mr. Miller, his client, was seated in the living room, reading a newspaper. In his mouth was an elegantly carved pipe, shaped in the liking of a steamboat. His face was weathered, and it always seemed to have a frown of disappointment plastered onto it like an obscene poster in a whorehouse. A thinning mop of raven black hair graced his head.

“Ah, you’re here! Take a seat. I trust you had no trouble finding your way through the city?” he asked, setting his newspaper down and grasping his pipe. “ No sir, I found it quite nice, if a bit...dirty.” Wilson took a seat on the sofa perpendicular to Mr. Miller.

Mr. Miller took the pipe out of his mouth and pointed the smoking contraption at Wilson. “Have you had a chance to look at a telephone yet? Simply genius invention. Mr. Bell is a smart man.” Wilson nodded. “ One of the finest minds of our time, sir.” Mr. Miller smiled “So you follow inventions as well? What did you make of Edison’s light bulb?” Wilson thought for a moment, then answered. “I believed in him all the way through, sir. Electric light is possible, contrary to the views of several scientists.”

“ Well, I suppose we should cut the niceties and get to business.”

“ That is what I’m here for.”

Mrs. Miller set the tea on the small table in the middle of the room and took a seat beside her husband.

“Yesterday afternoon I received a letter from a furniture store. The letter detailed that the furniture I had ordered the day before had arrived at my house in the country. I was evidently confused as I had never ordered any furniture, nor had I asked for such a package to be delivered there, as I’ve been here on business for the last 3 weeks. I found a colleague of mine to whom I entrust the management of purchases me or my wife make, and he said I ordered two sofas for my country home. When I asked where he got such a notion, he handed me yet another letter, saying just that. With my signature no less!”

Wilson nodded. “Do you still have the letter?” Mr. Miller unfolded a piece of paper from his coat pocket and handed it to Wilson. Upon opening, it read:

I would like to order two sofas from the esteemed company in New York, which often goes by the name of Hans Furniture. I would like the sofas to be blue in color. My most gracious thanks,
Mr. Derek Miller

Wilson refolded the letter and handed it back to Mr. Miller. “ So you think someone has forged your signature?”

“ If only! Just yesterday, I ran into a servant of mine in line for a factory job. When I flagged him down, he paled, stammering something about getting fired! So the bugger looks like me as well!”

“So then why do you need my expertise, Mr. Miller? This seems nothing a pair of good, strong men couldn’t handle?”

“My thoughts exactly! When I sent two of the finest young lads I’d ever seen, just this morning I received reports that they were dead, hung on a tree outside my house. What’s more, they’d been enucleated! Eyes torn clean out!” Mr. Miller was visibly shaken, and Mrs. Miller was holding back a sob.

“I’ve seen such a thing before. I believe I can help you,” Wilson said, thinking.

“ I believe you’ve run into a Redoclea. These horrid monstrosities collect eyes, and can turn into the shape of a man.They just have to be around him long enough. This one, though I may be wrong, is a Servant’s Redoclea. They commonly perform good acts, such as washing dishes, folding clothes, and the like. Ever have something you meant to do be suddenly done for you, and everyone swears it wasn’t them? That’s them. This allows them to get close to their victim. When they are ready, they kill their victims and take their place. This lets them get close to other humans, and the cycle repeats.“
Mr. Millar paled. “Surely it can be exterminated? Killed?”

“Worry not. This thing bleeds surely as you or I. Let’s discuss price,”

Mr. Miller smirked, puffing a ring of smoke out of his mouth. “ You are a tact man, aren’t you. What’s your offer?”

“75 dollars,”

At this, Mr. Miller’s eyes widened, but he quickly regained his composure.

“50,”

“75,”

“60,"

“ You know very well I could die on this. The price of a human life starts at 75 dollars,”

Wilson shook hands with the man. “You drive a hard bargain. When can I expect it to be finished?”

“Give me a two days to prepare. In that time, no one should come, and let whoever needs to know not to accept things from that address. It shouldn’t leave,”

“It is done. I shall see you when you return,”

Wilson stood, walking towards the door, “ Good day to you, sir,”

~

The carriage slowed to a halt at Wilson’s house. The driver, an old friend of Wilson’s, smiled as Wilson got off. He always preferred to ride beside the driver. Wilson threw him a couple quarters. The driver caught the coins with a deft hand and eased the carriage forward. Wilson pushed open the metal gate outside his house.

Wilson’s house was 2 stories, disregarding the basement. It wasn’t the biggest house you’d ever see, but nor was it the smallest. It was painted a plain white. He climbed the small step leading to the front door. The door was a plain oak, sturdy and simple. Wilson was a practical person.

Entering the house, Wilson was assaulted by two young children. They clambered over him, squealing. “Papa! Papa!” He laughed, listening to their stories.

“ And then Nanny said we’d get warts, playing with frogs and toads like that. But we didn’t, and Nanny was wrong! “ the boy said, jumping up and down in barely withheld excitement. The girl began explaining what they did to the frog, what it did, and why.

“Now Mason, you didn’t let it pee on you, did you?” Wilson teased, putting on an air of mock seriousness. “No sir!” Mason jumped, barely withholding a giggle. “Bella, did the frog pee on you?” She squirmed in his arms. “No, silly!”

Wilson played with the children until late, spending the entire afternoon laughing.They played leap frog in the kitchen, tag in the living room, and hide and seek upstairs. They ate dinner with the maids and servants, as Wilson always did. They joked and played throughout. Mason nearly fell from his chair in a fit of laughter.

When they went to bed, he moved slowly to his. In it, was a woman. She was young, but a sickness had overtaken her. Her auburn hair lay spread out beneath her. She had lay, comatose, for 4 years. Wilson held her hand lovingly. He remembered the day she’d become like this as if it was yesterday.

It was stormy, and we were all getting ready for bed. I put Mason and Bella to bed, and made my way to my room. Outside the door, I heard Rebecca scream. I threw open the door and looked at a horrid scene. A monster was struggling to restrain my wife. It’d mounted her, and was fumbling with her dress. It was tall, like me, and muscular. It’s eyes were black; it looked as if the world was his playground. He yelled obscenities at her as she bucked beneath it. I tackled the monstrosity and we rolled around on the floor, grasping for each other’s throats. It pinned me down, and when he got off I found I still couldn’t move.
He clicked his teeth and smiled. “If I can’t have her, no one can!” He snapped his fingers and she fell into the state she’s in now.


Wilson held her hand. And cried.

__________________
I am Siegmeyer of Catarina, and you shall feel my wrarh!

Last edited by Lockette; 10-23-2017 at 02:20 PM.. Reason: formatting. Caught some small plot errors on my part
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Lockette For This Useful Post:
fleamailman (10-23-2017), michaelo'connor (11-13-2017)
  #2  
Old 10-23-2017, 12:17 PM
Loser&Loner's Avatar
Loser&Loner (Offline)
Intellectually Fertile
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: By the sea
Posts: 153
Thanks: 19
Thanks 17
Default

You put periods in between dialogue when they should be commas.

Blah blah, "blah blah blah," blah blah.

"Blah blah blah," blah blah, blah blah blah.
__________________
My words are edible
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-23-2017, 01:38 PM
Lockette's Avatar
Lockette (Offline)
Abnormally Articulate
Official Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 143
Thanks: 14
Thanks 44
Default

Originally Posted by Loser&Loner View Post
You put periods in between dialogue when they should be commas.

Blah blah, "blah blah blah," blah blah.

"Blah blah blah," blah blah, blah blah blah.
you've spotted my hubris. I'm terrible at catching that. Specifically. Anything else is easy to spot, except that. No idea why. Thanks for pointing that out. If I can still edit I'll hunt them out.

Any critique on the content? would you like to see the rest?
__________________
I am Siegmeyer of Catarina, and you shall feel my wrarh!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-23-2017, 02:03 PM
Lockette's Avatar
Lockette (Offline)
Abnormally Articulate
Official Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 143
Thanks: 14
Thanks 44
Default

looking back over this I think it needs some more work. I like the idea, but something seems a bit 'off' about it. Maybe too cliched? It seems rather rushed? I can't put my finger on it. It's annoying.
__________________
I am Siegmeyer of Catarina, and you shall feel my wrarh!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-23-2017, 02:17 PM
Loser&Loner's Avatar
Loser&Loner (Offline)
Intellectually Fertile
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: By the sea
Posts: 153
Thanks: 19
Thanks 17
Default

The content is fine but the prose is a tad clumsy. Read it out loud.
Wilson leant forward, knocking on the door with a gloved hand. He coughed into his hand. New York City didn’t agree with him.

Play around with your sentences, less is more sometimes.

Wilson leaned forward and rapped smartly on the door, New York City didn't agree with him - he coughed quietly into his glove.
__________________
My words are edible
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-23-2017, 02:19 PM
Loser&Loner's Avatar
Loser&Loner (Offline)
Intellectually Fertile
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: By the sea
Posts: 153
Thanks: 19
Thanks 17
Default

I like Mason, I have a character in one of my stories named Mason, so I hold your Mason close to my heart as well.
__________________
My words are edible
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-23-2017, 02:31 PM
Lockette's Avatar
Lockette (Offline)
Abnormally Articulate
Official Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 143
Thanks: 14
Thanks 44
Default

Originally Posted by Loser&Loner View Post
I like Mason, I have a character in one of my stories named Mason, so I hold your Mason close to my heart as well.
Y'know how in one of our past conversations I said I might do a series of short stories surrounding a character? I think this might be it. I've got an overarching story in my head. The problem is putting it into words. Think 'The Last Wish' by Andrzej Sapkowski. A good book, even if you haven't played the games.
__________________
I am Siegmeyer of Catarina, and you shall feel my wrarh!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-23-2017, 04:35 PM
Loser&Loner's Avatar
Loser&Loner (Offline)
Intellectually Fertile
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: By the sea
Posts: 153
Thanks: 19
Thanks 17
Default

Why short stories, why not self-publish a novella and build your writer's platform?
__________________
My words are edible
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-23-2017, 05:14 PM
brianpatrick's Avatar
brianpatrick (Online)
Verbosity Pales
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Arizona
Posts: 3,849
Thanks: 361
Thanks 847
Default

Originally Posted by Loser&Loner View Post

Wilson leaned forward and rapped smartly on the door, New York City didn't agree with him - he coughed quietly into his glove.

Wilson leaned in and rapped smartly on the door; New York City didn’t agree with him. He coughed into his gloved hand.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-24-2017, 01:21 AM
Loser&Loner's Avatar
Loser&Loner (Offline)
Intellectually Fertile
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: By the sea
Posts: 153
Thanks: 19
Thanks 17
Default

Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
Wilson leaned in and rapped smartly on the door; New York City didn’t agree with him. He coughed into his gloved hand.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
I think the EM dash would work better than a period, i can't do it on my phone so settled with the EN dash.
__________________
My words are edible
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10-24-2017, 01:34 AM
Loser&Loner's Avatar
Loser&Loner (Offline)
Intellectually Fertile
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: By the sea
Posts: 153
Thanks: 19
Thanks 17
Default

Actually the period is better. My editor Mary Cole suggests replacing the ; with a comma or em dash as it is falling out of favor in modern fiction. I am not convinced but she is the professional.
__________________
My words are edible

Last edited by Loser&Loner; 10-24-2017 at 01:38 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-24-2017, 03:51 AM
brianpatrick's Avatar
brianpatrick (Online)
Verbosity Pales
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Arizona
Posts: 3,849
Thanks: 361
Thanks 847
Default

Originally Posted by Loser&Loner View Post
Actually the period is better. My editor Mary Cole suggests replacing the ; with a comma or em dash as it is falling out of favor in modern fiction. I am not convinced but she is the professional.


A comma after door would be a “comma splice”

They are two complete sentences. If I had written it I probably would have used a period.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to brianpatrick For This Useful Post:
Loser&Loner (10-24-2017)
  #13  
Old 10-24-2017, 02:26 PM
Lockette's Avatar
Lockette (Offline)
Abnormally Articulate
Official Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 143
Thanks: 14
Thanks 44
Default

Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
A comma after door would be a “comma splice”

They are two complete sentences. If I had written it I probably would have used a period.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
I think it's kind of funny the only thing I had screwed up that you guys caught was sentence structure. I'm mildly elated.

This needs some more work. I'll probably go back and mess around and tinker with it once I'm finished. I didn't post the whole thing because It's going to be close to 3 or 4 times as long as this is, once I'm done. I think I may finish this one. I'll post something if I decide it's a high quality piece.
__________________
I am Siegmeyer of Catarina, and you shall feel my wrarh!
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 11-12-2017, 03:19 AM
Loser&Loner's Avatar
Loser&Loner (Offline)
Intellectually Fertile
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: By the sea
Posts: 153
Thanks: 19
Thanks 17
Default

My advice about commas in between dialogue is very simplistic and wrong on its own. https://www.thebalance.com/punctuati...riting-1277721 use that as a guide. I am very sorry.
__________________
My words are edible
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 11-12-2017, 06:21 AM
Myers's Avatar
Myers (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,750
Thanks: 338
Thanks 355
Default

Mr. Miller, his client, was seated in the living room, reading a newspaper. In his mouth was an elegantly carved pipe, shaped in the liking of a steamboat. His face was weathered, and it always seemed to have a frown of disappointment plastered onto it like an obscene poster in a whorehouse. A thinning mop of raven black hair graced his head.
Or something like this:

His client, Mr. Miller, sat in the living room reading a newspaper, smoking a pipe intricately carved in the shape of a steamboat. His weathered face seemed frozen into a permanent mask of disappointment.

Or:

A man with thinning black hair and a weathered face that seemed frozen to a look of permanent disappointment sat in the living room reading a newspaper, smoking a pipe intricately carved like a steamboat.

Or this approach -- add some action to the visual so it doesn't stick out like obvious description. :

A man with thinning black hair and a weathered face that seemed frozen to a look of permanent disappointment sat in the living room. He looked up from his newspaper and puffed on a pipe intricately carved in the shape of steamboat.

Or go all out -- it doesn't need to be bare bones. Use action and dialog -- and you can work even more detail into it, plus you're starting to make this guy into a character:

They went into a sparsely appointed living room, where an older gentleman sat reading a newspaper. He looked up at them before raking his fingers through thinning black hair in an attempt to make himself look presentable. "Ah, you're here!" he said, between puffs on an meerschaum pipe intricately carved into the shape of a paddle-wheeled steamboat. Despite his enthusiastic greeting, his weathered face seemed frozen into a mask of eternal disappointment.

Or it could be any number of combinations. You just need to think through ways to combine images and thoughts and make your sentences flow into each other. The advice to read aloud is good -- you'll likely recognize where things are choppy.

BTW -- I left out the whorehouse simile -- because it doesn't make any sense. Simile is tricky -- there has to be some kind of instant recognition. If it's too complicated or just way off like this one, it's just going to take someone out of the story.

Cheers.

Last edited by Myers; 11-12-2017 at 01:05 PM..
Reply With Quote
Reply

  WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Fiction


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Precious Life is Delicious mvvenkataraman Poetry 2 01-17-2017 12:36 PM
Satan 7 sample draft chapters Fkegs Fiction 0 06-24-2014 06:53 AM
Stacks of lamps! stacksoflamps Introductions 2 09-16-2012 04:06 AM
The Christdolou Gambit/Double Standard richards89 Fiction 3 06-07-2011 06:02 PM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:49 PM.

vBulletin, Copyright © 2000-2006, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.