Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Secret Agent #30

TITLE: Sendek
GENRE: Science Fantasy

Death lurked in the shadows. Talia’ shaking fingers clenched into a fist. Where was the door to the library?

Her breath came in shallow bursts as she moved beneath the circles of light cast by the bulbs dangling from the ceiling. The dim glow reflected off the water filling the hall as she hurried through the underground tunnel.

I have to find it before I wake. Talia ran her hands along the stone wall, bits of dirt and moss crumbling from her touch. There was no sign of the door, but the cold seeped through her blouse, causing her to shiver. The ache in her chest felt real enough that the confidence this was the dream wavered.

Two men stumbled into view. Their long black robes hung heavy around their legs. They paused in a circle of light, while the fatter of the two gasped for breath as he leaned against the wall.

No, not yet. Talia slapped the stone wall. “I need more time.” She screamed down the corridor, but the men ignored her.

Calm fluttered somewhere inside her, just out of reach, as her mouth moved in sync with the man’s words, “It's too late. They're here."

The relief of knowing she dreamed fled and she willed herself to wake. Her heart rate sped up as three huge creatures walked out of the shadows. They moved in silence, barely disturbing the water with their smooth motion. Two legs, but definitely not human.


  1. Awesome, fantastic, intriguing. I'm hooked ^_^ I want to know about the dreaming and the creatures in the shadows and the tangible feelings in the dream...all of it.

    Best of luck to you ^_^

  2. I'm a little confused.

    Death lurked in the shadows. <-- Does this line refere to something in her dream or something out of her dream that wakes her up from her dream?

    I'd read on to see where this goes, but I'm not quite hooked yet.

  3. Talia's shaking fingers ;)- the 's got left off.

    I'm not hooked yet, but I think with some tightening I could be. There's a lot of good stuff here to pull me in, it just needs to be a bit more focused.

  4. I'm intrigued, but not 100% hooked. Honestly, it kind of feels like I'm reading this in a dark tunnel, can't quite visualize where she is or what's going on. That may be your intended effect, but if it is, I wouldn't let it go on much longer.

    I was distracted by your typo in the second sentence: "Talia's." Also, this sentence was a bit awkward: "The relief of knowing she dreamed fled and she willed herself to wake."

    This is one of those that I really want to be hooked, but it's just not quite there yet for me.

  5. I wish I could disagree with the above comments, but I'm also more confused than hooked. Part of that is some rough patches in the writing:
    Shouldn't it be 'Where *is* the door to the library?' and 'relief of knowing she *was dreaming*?
    Also, did she scream, 'I need more time' or did she just scream?
    I know there's a really intriguing story here, just some work needed to bring it out and then I will be hooked.

    Good luck!

  6. Ditto with Karen's comment about being intrigued but not quite hooked. This piece had an Inception feel to me, but for those not familiar with that film, I can see how they might be confused. Also, I kinda felt there was a bit too much focus on non-essential details rather than pulling us further into the mystery.

    Hope this helps!

  7. I thought this had potential, but the writing just isn't where it needs to be.

    Perhaps cut 'death lurked in the shadows.' It does create mood, but it doesn't do anything else. We never get to see who/what death is. Nothing is really in the shadows, so it seems a throwaway line.

    The water filling the hall - so are they all submeged underwater, or ankle deep in it? Is the water slowly rising? Are they in danger of drowning? Give us more detail.

    I have to find it - she knows what 'it' is. Why not name 'it?' Then the reader has something to focus on, to be interested in, and can wonder why she needs it, why it's important.

    She screamed down the coridor. - Why? Nothing's happening to her.

    Then she's suddenly calm. Where did this calmness come from? What brought it on? What took her from screaming to being calm? Show us her process.

    And then she's willing heself to wake just after wishing for more time. What changed her mind? Why is she suddenly eager to wake?

    Three huge creatures walked out of the shadows. Are they menacing creatures? 'walked' makes it seem casual and not very dangerous. If the creatures are supposed to be frightening, use a more frightening verb than 'walked.' Did they shuffle, lope, charge, slither? Same with 'they moved in silence.' Instead of 'moved' which says nothing, choose a verb that does say something.

    Overall,I feel like there is something here, but it still needs a lot of work.

  8. I like what you're trying to do with this scene, but it's not quite there yet for me. I liked the image of her searching for the door while water rushed into the tunnel - you've definitely created a sense of urgency. But I was confused by a few things. Are the men in robes following her, or chasing her? Was she mouthing the words of one of the men because she'd had the dream so many times? I thought that's what was happening, and again it was a neat image, but it just wasn't clear enough with the writing.

    The end particularly confused me, because I wasn't sure if she successfully willed herself awake and the three creatures were in her reality, or if she was still dreaming. I think she's dreaming, but again, it just wasn't clear to me.

  9. I've never done this before, so I don't know if it's okay for me to reply to comments, but I'm going to anyway.

    Thank you for all the questions you've asked. It lets me know I did what I wanted because you are all asking the right questions. :)

    Yttar death is in the dream and in her life.

    Marie, thanks, I fixed the typo.

    Karen, she is in a dark tunnel and can't see all that much herself. Also, thanks for pointing out that line. I've revised it.

    Monica, thanks fixed the 'is'.

    Lori, trust me. Every detail here is essential. Talia's dreams are prophetic and the reader will recognize this scene when it resurfaces.

    Barbara, 'death' is the creatures. Hopefully that is more clear with the rest of the paragraph. I cut in the middle because of the word count restriction. I think your main confusion would be cleared up by the jacket blurb. She knows she's dreaming, she knows she will die at the end, and she's searching for clues to prevent it from becoming reality.

    Tarak, I think I cut a line that would clarify things for you. I'll consider replacing it. She is an "extra" in the dream so to speak. She's observing someone else's future right now. And no, she's not awake...yet. *evil grin*

    Thanks again for the comments!

  10. I wish this wasn’t a dream, even a prophetic one. It is different from the average dream-beginning, and the set-up you’ve got here is so cool, but I’d just be waiting for that disappointing moment when she woke up. It’s also reads a bit young, more YA than adult, but that might alter when she wakes. That’s the difficulty here; it’s hard to judge when I’m not sure how real the world is that’s been set up here.