Wednesday, December 16, 2009

34 Drop the Needle

TITLE: Beneath the Trees
GENRE: Fantasy

Rose kept dropping barley seeds into the neatly plowed rows though her gaze remained fixed on the forest, scanning every one of the twisting, fern-covered lanes between the trunks. No matter how stealthy the creature moved, Rose knew it was coming. A breeze brought the warning, a strange mix of clotted blood, the musk of a male animal and the sweat of a man; but most frightening by far was the utter silence with which it approached.

“Uncle John,” Rose called across the field. “I hear…Mary.” It was true. Rose could hear her aunt getting supper. “She needs you.” That was also true, of course.

John Woodman learned long ago how well his niece could hear, and he caught the very real note of alarm in her voice. Casting his hoe aside, he barreled towards the little farmhouse, expecting Rose to follow.

She’d made one step in order to give him that impression, but when she was sure he was headed to safety, she turned facing the stand of ancient oaks that lined the edge of the field.

The creature must’ve heard her call. It was coming faster now. Rose heard the snap of a twig. She caught a glimpse, a dark, fleeting shape between the trunks. And then, it was upon her.

Tall as she was, it towered above her as it rose onto its hind legs. The beastly face gave a very manlike grin and a grey, clawed hand shot out to grab her.

Rose didn’t scream.


  1. I love this!

    The writing seems so effortless and flowing. It moves seamlessly from one idea to the next. There is a sense of danger, but it's subdued. I like that about it too. The writer isn't shouting the danger at me. It's very subtle.

    Very nicely written. 10 out of 10.

  2. Suspense is most effective when the mind of the reader is engaged in imagining the terror just around the corner. You have carried it out with consummate skill. Nice job!

  3. Tension, Danger galore! I loved the action and the prickling on my arms from the oh-gawd-what-is-going-to-happen-next.

    Except for…*scuffing feet*... Might want to check out the size of barley seed. I don’t think ‘dropping’ is the correct term.

    Other than that piddling thing, I was enthralled. Good job with this submission!

  4. Great stuff. Rose's response to the danger intrigues me, since most people would probably be right at Uncle John's heels. (Well, I certainly would!) What is she planning on doing? And why isn't she screaming? Very interesting.

    I think it should be "stealthily" since it's modifying a verb. Otherwise the writing is pretty solid.

  5. Love this! Subtle and well written.

  6. I really like your voice! And I'm instantly intrigued by Rose and her abilities and total lack of fear. I definitely want to read more.