Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October Secret Agent #26

GENRE: Dark Contemporary Fantasy

The soft floor of the forest whips under his boots. Sticky branches snag his tunic. Deryk tosses his quiver of arrows to the side, his crossbow already lying forgotten in the darkness behind him. Cold air burns his lungs. Just a little further. Then he can rest. The sound of snapping twigs reach his ears. He doesn’t know if he’s breaking them or she is. He glances over his shoulder and sees nothing but bare branches behind him. One of the branches in front of him smacks him in the face. He ducks his head and pushes forward. His breath moves in and out in gasps, begging him to slow down. Begging him to stop.

Lights catch his eyes through the trees.


He almost trips over a vine at the edge of the woods – or it reached out and grabbed him. He tears himself free and flings himself onto the snow dusted ground. But only for a moment. He can rest inside.

The dark grey cathedral looms before him, candlelight illuminating the windows on the bottom floor and torch lamps lighting a path up the crumbling staircase. He launches himself over the cracked stone and throws himself on the front door.

He chances another look behind him. She’s nowhere to be seen. But that doesn’t mean she’s not there. The door pushes against him and he steps back so the priest can open it. Without waiting for an invitation, he pushes past the slightly older man and shoves the door shut behind him.


  1. Good opening. I like the suspense. However, I was a little confused at first because I thought "she" was someone he was traveling with. Towards the end I realized it was someone chasing him. Maybe clarify that. Overall, good job!

  2. I like the imagery you've created with the scene here. I almost feel like I'm running through a cold dark forest along with him!

    I would consider switching things up a bit with the "He's" though... a lot of sentences seem to start with it, and it was a little distracting. For instance, instead of "He tears himself free..." you could say "Tearing himself free, he...."

    Good luck!

  3. Nice writing. :) It flowed really well.

    What's he running from? It's hard to worry for him without knowing what it is we should be worrying about. The "she" he mentions doesn't tell us anything. He's obviously afraid of her, but why? Does she want to kill him? Does he owe her money? Is it an ex girlfriend out for revenge? We just need to understand his state of mind to engage ourselves in his plight.

    Good luck!

  4. I liked this one a lot. We are in his character from the first sentence. We feel his fear, and know some mysterious 'she' is hunting him. We know what he wants, at least in the short term, Sanctuary. We know that the trees may be able to grab him, which adds a sense of fantasy. We want to know what this is about, and will continue reading to find out.

    Two minor quibbles.

    o 'Up the crumbling staircase' made me think of an internal and long staircase. I'm guessing you mean crumbling stone steps, which brings more to mind a short run of porch steps.

    o He throws himself 'on' the door. Which made me think the door was somehow like a trapdoor in the ground. Consider having him throw himself against the door.

    Good job. I would love to read more of this story.

  5. The writing is good and we like the atmosphere of this scene. We can really picture ourselves here. We wish we knew a bit more about the characters, so a tiny bit more interwoven in here could be a nice addition. The mystery created here is great, too.

  6. I felt the tension here immediately, and it's a nice chase scene. I would have liked to have known what he was running from, but that is an answer I'd be willing to wait for.

    I originally thought the 'she' was running with him, and it was only toward the end that I realized 'she' was chasing him.

    You might add a bit of description to the building he is running toward to give us a sense of place

  7. I'm hooked. I like how the pacing of the sentences give the impression of rushing from danger.

    I don't think we have to know what's going on at first. But I'd want to know something soon.

    Minor quibbles -- I'd put Derek's name in the first sentence. Also, I can't imagine the "slightly older man" because I don't know how old Derek is.