Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October Secret Agent #27


I can't have been asleep for more than an hour, maybe two, when my bedroom door swings open with a long, shivering groan. I ignore it-- the door never latches right in winter, and our apartment is draftier than a frilly skirt on a windy day.

But then there's a touch on my foot, the barest hint of pressure on the duvet, and I am instantly, fully, awake.

"We've got company, cupcake,” a voice says from the chair beside my bed.

“Thank you, Captain Obvious. Why did you let it in?”

“Last I checked, I wasn't a doorman,” he says.

Still soundless, the thing continues its path around my bed, moving ever closer to where my head is resting on the pillow. I tuck my chin to my chest, shifting so the blankets cover most of my face, just in case. Ghosts won't try to get physical, usually, not if my oh-so- helpful partner Zeke is around. But it never hurts to be cautious.

“Gross,” Zeke says, and even though I know better I open my eyes.

Inches from me, crouched down to be level with my face, is a scorched, peeling thing--nothing but black skin and grimacing mouth, lidless eyes wide and bright in the darkness. The ghost opens its mouth and the skin around it bursts and peels away from the charred lips. “You
can see me,” it gurgles.


  1. I would read on - I'm hooked.

  2. I think the voice is strong here, but I know waking-up scenes tend to be faux pas.

    I like the dialogue- it flows really well!

  3. I'm hooked too. I already love Zeke. Great job!

  4. Definitely hooked!

    There's a light, humorous style here that works really well for the genre and audience. You're not beating me over the head with the hook, either. I want to know who the narrator is, who or what Zeke is, and what happened to the ghost, but it all arises naturally from the scene.

    I really like the Captain Obvious line. My sister says that, which puts the narrator (in my mind, at least) squarely in the YA age range. Great job and hope I get to read more some day!

  5. I really like it. I like ghosts and would totally read on.

  6. I think you have great writing!

    I turned off when the ghost entered the picture. I admit, this isn't the type of subject I am drawn to. But I would love for that last paragraph to have somehow made me want to keep going anyway--as some paranormal stories do. I am not sure how you could make it stronger--maybe more active and less descriptive?

    Great job on your dialog and characteriztion!

  7. The devil is in the details and your details are compelling. Great job.

    Is he a ghost or a devil. No self-respecting devil would be caught dead as a defunct human.

    I think the last line (dialogue and tag) deserve to be highlighted with 'it's' own line.


  8. I'm hooked, too and I TOTALLY didn't expect to be. I don't like scary stuff because I have to stay up all night until they catch the bad guy and it's safe for me to go to sleep.

    Is there a tense problem in the first paragraph? It didn't read right to me.

    But still HOOKED.

  9. I'm hooked! There's just enough mystery to keep me intrigued, but not so much that I'm confused. Nice job!

  10. Hooked. Voice good. Moves well. Some NY types seem to frown on the whole waking up as first scene thing but I think that might be more about dream sequences than having something other worldly float into your room. Good job.

  11. I don't have a problem with waking up scenes, but you might want to say she was dozing or half asleep, as opposed to sleeping, since she wouldn't hear and see the things she does until she awoke.

    Perhaps say who the voice is coming from since she is now fully awake and she appears to know who is speaking.

    In the "still soundless" parg. you might want to cut the 'still,' and the 'continues, because as yet, we haven't seen the 'thing' and neither has she because she hasn't opened her eyes. She's describing things she can't see. And you have her pulling the blanket over her head as if she does see it. Perhaps have her open her eyes sooner, because as is, she doesn't see the thing until the last paragraph.

  12. I really like this one. I also liked the captain obvious comment. I don't know why but that phrase always makes me laugh and I just like it. I think it does a nice job establishing the character's voice.

    My only question here is why is she sharing an apartment with Zeke? Sounds like they're partners in some ghostbusting thing (although I suppose I could have that wrong) but if they're both teenagers, what is the story with that?

    I find present tense to be somewhat jarring sometimes until I settle into it, but it's certainly hot these days.

    Overall I thought it was a really nice job establishing the voice and a great set up for the story. I felt totally hooked.

  13. Wow, this is awesome. What a great job! For me, as a reader, you revealed just enough info to hook me into the story and i'm rarely ever hooked these days. :) So i'm so happy to see this entry. Thank you! I look forward to seeing this as a published book someday soon.

  14. This was good. I'm not much into ghost stories, but if I didn't read on that would be the only reason why. This is solid.

  15. Hooked, and without a 'but'.

    I hadn't a clue this was a YA paranormal ... my biggest fear was that she was tongue in cheek about the 'ghost' and the thing would turn out to be a cat... Thank-you for not disappointing.

    Ditto the praise in general: you know your craft and have done the work. Loved the dialog and dynamics between the narrator and Zeke. Zeke shines and the humor is funny.

    Placing her state as awake/sleeping at the very beginning was a slight jar: easy fix in second par: ... "instantly, I am fully awake. Change the placing of 'fully' implles that she was half awake before. Or something. I know the rhythm of instantly, fully, awake is nicer... heck, it's the little things that turn writers into wrestlers, si?

    From your last line, my impression is that your narrator (and Zeke?) have unusual talents...

    Even though not something I usually read, my #1 (in first 10)for all the write reasons.