Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May Secret Agent #43

TITLE: Cloven
GENRE: Paranormal

I am a creature.

Not a vampire, a werewolf or a ghoul but something long forgotten.

I am a faun, that woodland sprite out of Roman lore.

I first made the change eleven years ago, when Mother roused me from sleep with a whisper.

“Wake up, Dolcunus. It’s time.”

“Time for what?”

“Father will explain. Come.”

Mother took my hand and led me down the stairs, and with each step, Father’s presence on the landing loomed larger, a black chasm I thought would surely swallow me whole.

Soon thereafter I was bundled into the car and brought to a clearing in the woods, where the trees towered over me like ancient sentinels. They formed a circle, these trees—oak and ash and hoary willows, their twisting branches creaking in the slight wind.

Father quickly built up a fire, and in mere moments, the hungry flames licked at the knotted wood. “Come, Dolcunus,” he said. “Kneel.” His outstretched hand gestured to a small stone altar covered in ivy.

I stood up. Fallen branches snapped under my bare feet. The short robe I wore flapped around my skinny knees. I knelt as Father began to play a curious instrument. They were panpipes I would learn later, and the melody that rose in rhythm with my heartbeat was odd and wondrous at the same time.

That’s when they came out of the forest.


  1. What is this person doing now? You begin the story in a flashback. What is happening that the faun is thinking back already?

    And I think you could get rid of the second sentence and go right into what the protag. is.

  2. I actually like the second sentence. I assume that we find out more about the current situation soon. I would definitely read to find out more.

  3. Oh my goodness, I would definitely read on! My only 'nit'--only because I've spent my life avoiding the word 'was' in fiction--lies in "I was bundled." Someone always acts. "Mother and Father bundled me into the car and brought me..."

    I love this so much! I can't tell you how cool this is.

    I instantly shied away when I saw the word 'vampire.' I had to recover a little before I saw the word 'not.' So I understand both sides of the 'second sentence' debate. Some of us have strong reactions against 'vampire.'

    Thank-you so much for sharing!

  4. I think this is original and well-written.

    In that 3rd sentence, you clarify, "that woodland sprite out of Roman lore," which leads me to believe this tale takes place within our world, or at the very least, one much like it, in a time far enough into the future (like our present, maybe) to have a "Roman lore?" If not, watch out for that. Make sure your comparisons are appropriate for the knowledge of your MC. (just a thought... I'll trust that you've already considered this ;)

    Otherwise, very tension-building, and I would absolutely keep reading. Who are "they?" What's going to happen in this strange ceremony? This definitely pulls you in.

  5. Fauns? What a great idea.
    I think your piece flows well and does exactlywhat an opening needs to do: gets the reader wanting to find out more. I'd like to know how fauns fit into modern society and what their role is. And how they keep their hairy legs hidden on warm summer days, or whether they keep the local waxing business in profit. Ok, just kidding. Great job.

  6. I like this. I suggest starting with "I made the change..." That's intriguing and where I felt hooked. The reader's curiosity about what the MC changes into will keep them reading. Nice job!

  7. I like the faun concept. Is this a prologue, and soon after, we jump to present day? However, as it is an interesting concept, I am intrigued to see how fauns fit in modern day society and blend with the humans.

  8. Like everyone else, I'm intrigued by the concept of Fauns. I would read on.

  9. I'm not sold on the faun concept. Even with the marketplace flooded with vampires, werewolves, and ghouls, there's a reason why those things sell. They're dangerous, thrilling, and sexy (okay, maybe not the ghouls). You need to establish the voice immediately--a faun story, to me, would be humorous, so you need to give us our expectations immediately, or flip it on its head.

    The flashback makes the reader have to wait to get to the good stuff. I want to be plopped down in the middle of his life right away. I have a feelings his parents are a bit eccentric, and I'd love to see that in everyday life--here, I'm not sure whether to like them or trust them; why wouldn't they prepare him at all for this point in his life, not even enough to know what panpipes are?

  10. Perhaps tell this as it happens. Start with parg four and let the story play out rather than telling us about it after the fact. It brings the reader closer. I wondered why he’s afraid of his father. Perhaps tell us. And where did the altar come from? Perhaps mention it as he enters the clearing.