Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Drop the Needle: Death #31

TITLE: The Passage
GENRE: Dark Fantasy

Two police detectives have entered the basement of an old mansion looking for clues about missing people.

Cumberland listened; it was too quiet. There should have been sounds of mice or other nocturnal animals, but there was nothing. He played the flashlight beam along the wall and the floor, revealing layers of undisturbed dirt and bones.

He felt certain that something was there beyond the darkness. There it was again: a faint slap on stone that stopped as abruptly as it had begun. Cumberland took a firm grasp of Morrison's forearm to restrain her from walking ahead.

His grip tightened as intuitively he sensed danger.

A heavy breath exhaled close by. Someone was there, hidden in the dark.

Cumberland released her arm to reach for his revolver.

Enormous hands reached out from the darkness and lifted Morrison completely off the ground, and she screamed when a fanged mouth tore fabric and flesh from her shoulder. The beast tossed her effortlessly across the corridor, against the wall, where she crumpled and fell.

The smell of gunpowder followed the flashes of light as Cumberland shot point-blank into the creature, emptying the chamber.

Stunned from her abrupt contact with the wall, Morrison watched the furry creature take a firm grip on Cumberland's shoulder bending him backward over its raised thigh. Her partner shrieked in agony when the beast ripped him open with a quick swipe of its forepaw.

The hideous shrieks from Cumberland continued. For some unknown reason, he still gripped the flashlight in his hand, and its beam jerked back and forth, illuminating the scene for her.


  1. Yikes! This is pretty darn freaky, which I'm guessing you were going for. I hope that Morrison gets the heck out of there!

    The only thing that threw me a tiny bit was the fact that the "creature" was described as a "beast," and then you talked about its hands and thigh. Later, you mention that the creature uses its "forepaw." When I saw the word hands, I was thinking vampire, and then had to mentally switch to more of an animal.

    I felt like I was in the scene, so good job!

  2. This seems to have started in Cumberland's POV and then switched abruptly to Morrison's. That kinda threw me, but the violent senslesness of the death scene was quite terrifying.

  3. Not my type of story, so I can't be much help; but "intuitively he sensed danger..." clunked for me. I would rather see a description, or just drop that line.

  4. The scene has the potential of arousing fear and danger in your characters and the readers.

    Once you tighten up some sentences, and do away with repetition I think this scene will read better. For instance:

    His grip tightened. (Kill the rest: as intuitively he sensed danger.) You don't need to spell everything out. Let the readers surmise for themselves there's danger lurking in the horizon.

    A heavy breath exhaled close by.

    (You don't need the following: Someone was there, hidden in the dark.) Watch POV BTW.

    Cumberland released her arm to reach for his revolver.

    The beast tossed her effortlessly across the corridor, against the wall, where she crumpled and fell.

    Kill the "effortlessly." We already got the the beast is big by the hands. By the way BTW, do we "see the BEAST? it might be interesting to first come face to face with this thing and see what danger awaits them...

    Great possibilities here. Enjoyed.

  5. Is there a reason why there are bones in the basement of an old mansion? Because that's really creepy. :)
    This was well written, but a little hard to follow. There's also a lot of telling rather than showing (gosh, I hate saying that, I know it's the most annoying thing to hear!).
    Anywho, I'm hooked by this - really well done!

  6. Was this scene meant to be written in third person limited or third person omniscent point of view? If so, then multiple POVs are allowed.

    The creature might be a shape-shifter which accounts for the difference in descriptions.



  7. Beautiful. Good visual and auditory descriptiveness. Try to bring in other senses - what does the creature SMELL like, or what about the stink of the blood, etc.
    The switching POV threw me a bit. We are pretty solidly in Cumberland, and then switch to Morrison without a break. You can't do that. Either describe Cumberland's reactions entirely from the outside, or else let us see it from his POV as he is ripped to pieces, then give a # and bring us into Morrison.
    Excellent work, though. Very scary.

  8. This scene is very visual, it drew me in. There is a bit of telling instead of showing. However I think it's well written and I'd read on. Good luck!

  9. The POV doesn't really work. It feels like a trick. Like we get invested in Cumberland and then you jump to Morrison because you have to kill him - and there's no other reason for the multiple POV>

    "It was too quiet" is cliche. From what I see here, you can do better. Also, "as intuitively he sensed danger" is awkward. And I agree that you don't have to tell us someone is in the dark after he hears the breath.

    Also, you used the "there was" phrasing a lot. "There was nothing," "something was there," "there it was," and "someone was there."

    I also, like a previous commenter, had a problem picturing what attacked him. Does it have hands or a paw? Or both? (hey, that would be kinda cool...)

    Other than that, it was pretty good. These scenes can tend to be overdone, but I think you did a good job here.

  10. Shocking in a visceral way, but I got lost when you went from Cumberland to Morrison. Maybe if it had been from Morison's close-pov, it would have flowed better.

    Good stuff.

  11. I agree with a lot of what's been said above. I too found the line 'as intuitively he sensed danger' a drop out. Same thing with 'the flashlight illuminating the scene'. It's a good visual and I think it could be said a bit better considering the drama of everything.
    Otherwise, good spooky stuff.