Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Secret Agent #30

TITLE: Legion
GENRE: Adult Paranormal

In the cold silence of my room, I count the faded scars on the inside of my forearm – one for every lie I was told. Like when my father promised me that the faces in the shadows didn’t exist – that I was just crazy like my mother.

A few inches under my wrist is the last.

I rest my head against the wooden, cherry polished headboard. It has to be nearly four o’clock in the morning. Two more hours until sunrise. Five more hours until my second to last session with the hypnotherapist.

My eyes, the dark aqua made black by the lack of light, focus on the shadows in the corners of the room. Eight years ago today is when it happened.

All I see is their blood when I close my eyes – all over my hands and the oversized shirt I slept in.
Staining the carpet. Painted across the broken coffee table.

So. Much. Blood. Why was there so much? It didn’t make any sense.

She can’t make me remember.

The old row house groans around me.

Two more hours until sunrise. Twenty-six hours until I can sleep at night again.

I wrap my arms around my knees and squint at the empty space under my closet door. The overstuffed tabby at the foot of my bed opens one eye and stretches across the purple floral quilt. She slow blinks at me and curls back into a ball.


  1. This has me intrigued to know what happened so the tension and mystery building is great imo. I'm confused as to who 'she' is in 'She can't make me remember' - does this bit need more info or does it all become clear soon after this piece? I'm not sure about the line 'the dark aqua made black' it sounds a bot info feeding like you're trying to tell us what colour eyes she has, is there a more condensed way to get across the info in this line? Otherwise I think it's great. Well done you for writing something that hooks you in so quickly.

  2. I think the she in question is the hypnotherapist. But if she can't make the narrator remember, how will that help her/him sleep? Agree with the above comment about the eyes. Also, I would not describe the cat as overstuffed - I thought it was taxidermy. :) Definitely an interesting premise!

  3. Hi there! Thanks for sharing.

    This is very dark, and I dig it. An excellent first line, though you should use an emdash (two hyphens) here. Same as in the next sentence.

    Since we’re in first person, there is no way your MC would be able to tell what color the lack-of-light is making her eyes unless she’s looking at something reflective. And even if she were, she still wouldn’t be able to since it sounds like the only light in her room is from . . . the window?

    One thing I’m not sure about is where you’re trying to go. The genre says paranormal, but I get the sense this more a psychological is-she-crazy/is-she-not-crazy tale rather than one with ghosts. Not saying you need to have something spooky happen right off the bat, just saying I’m not getting a ghostly vibe.

    I hope some of this helps. Good luck!

  4. I really like the tone you set here. And I want to know who the narrator is and what her story is (I assume it's a female since she slept in an "oversized shirt.")I agree with the comments above about the eyes. Sounds like a POV issue--would she be thinking this? I also think you could take a few descriptions out that seem to slow the tension, for example, the aforementioned oversized shirt. It doesn't seem to matter at this point. This is so strong, but I would love to hear more of the POV character's voice here. A.Wells

  5. You’ve created a nice, creepy tone here. It doesn’t just read paranormal. It ‘feels’ paranormal. And I thought the opening parg was effective. I’d read more.

    Parg 2. You could cut, since you don’t tell us anything about the scar.

    Parg 3. You could cut all the adjectives in front of headboard. Is the headboard important? If not, it doesn’t need all that description.

    4. Perhaps “I focus on the shadows . . .’ His eyes can’t focus on their own, and he can’t see his own eyes to know that the dark aqua looks black (unless he’s looking in mirror). And is the MC a he or a she?

    Parg 6. Maybe ‘So much blood.” (without the periods) But that’s subjective.

    Parg 9. It reads like he’s looking forward to sleeping. Is he? Considering he could be sleeping now and isn’t. And that every time he closes his eyes, he sees so much blood. It seems like he prefers not to sleep, but this parg makes it seem like he does. Whichever it is, perhaps make that clearer.

    Parg 10. I liked the stuffed cat. We don’t know if it is coming alive, or if the MC really is nuts. And you could cut ‘empty’. Space is only space because it’s empty.

  6. Oooh I really like the first few lines. Creepy and strong. I'd definitely read on.

    In the third paragraph I would cut "the dark aqua made black by the lack of light" - it's overwritten and not necessary.

    I love this: "The old row house groans around me."

    I'm definitely curious to know why it's "Twenty-six hours until I can sleep at night again."

    Thanks for entering!