Saturday, September 15, 2007

New Beginning 363

The sight of the wrought-iron frame of Cal’s door, grabbed my breath. The cold wood felt hard and unforgiving beneath my lifeless rap. What kind of idiot trembled on the threshold of the last chance to make his dreams come true?

Me, I am that kind of idiot. For no good reason though: in the least, even bill collectors know better than to harass a fool for money he doesn't have.

And if I failed now, there would be no greater fool than I.

A bolt clanged from its rest and the door broke free from its frame.

“How do you fair Mr. Raerdon? Does this exquisite night find you well and undisturbed?” Cal cackled. “I hope time blessed you on your long journey.”

“W-why ... y-yes ... my journey was fine.”

“Good,” his smile showed the razor sharp tips of canine teeth. “I hate to imagine trouble haunted you before your welcomed arrival.”

What haunted me was my host's ghastly visage; I couldn't help staring at those gleaming canines. Cal had lost the lower half of his face in the war, and upon returning to civilian life he'd had a dog's snout transplanted onto his face. I'd never mustered the courage to ask why.

"Don't be frightened," Cal said as I edged away from him. "I won't bite."

Biting wasn't the problem. He had dog breath.

Opening: Kevin Stewart.....Continuation: Lightsmith


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

"D-do ... y-you always rip the door f-from it's hinges?" I stammered. His eyes rested in his sockets and the lids crashed down from their heights.

"Huzzah, my fine traveler! Let's not mince words when your fair countenance is so weary and hirsute." My foolishness left me like a bill collector chased from my penniless doorstep as Cal's hands went to his gaping mouth. Finally, years after the accident left my arms lifeless, my dream of smooth cheeks was within reach.

Cal removed his canines with a smart snap! and said, "Let's get you a wee shave before our most joyous evening moves forward!"


So I decided to sit down and breathe some rap into my next song: U CAN touch this.

Yo! I told you
U can touch this
Why you standing there, man?
U can touch this
Yo,sound the bells, school is in, sucker
U can touch this
Give me a song or rhythm
Making 'em sweat
That's what I'm giving'em
Now they know
You talk about the Hammer, you're talking about a show
That's hyped and tight
Singers are sweating so pass them a wipe
Or a tape to learn
What it is going to take in the '90s
To burn the charts
Legit either work hard or you might as well quit

That's the word,because you know
U can touch this
U can touch this

Break it down

Stop. . . Hammer time

--Church Lady

Evil Editor said...

Effective in setting the tone--assuming we're going for the tone of someone visiting Dracula's castle. Here are some suggestions:

p1 +2: Change "idiot" to "fool" both times.

Change "fool" to "man."

p3: Delete. Has no meaning if we aren't told what he's failing at.

p4: change "broke free" to "pulled back."

p5: I don't like "Cal cackled." Apparently they know each other? Seems odd one says Mr. Raerdon, the other says Cal. And cackling sounds unexpectedly comical. Is Cal a giant chicken?

p6: Personally, I'm not crazy about stuttering to show fear. We already know he's uneasy.

p.7: Insert "would" between I and hate. Change "welcomed" to "welcome" (or "much anticipated")

Dave said...

Two things really bothered me.
First the bill collector reference. I am guessing the same as EE this is a man approaching a vampire. Collecting a bill from a vampire is hard enough. This implies the vampire might be bankrupt of whatever the "last chance to make his dream come true it."

Second, there is "Cal" and "Mr Reardon" a very strange familiarity problem. Cal implies friendship. Mr Reardon implies mere formality and a passing acquaintance. Add the journey of Reardon to Cal and it left me wondering. I'm guessing that "cackled" meant an old voice, high pitched and gravely of a senior citizen? That doesn't square with "Cal".

Maybe you intend that the reader wonder about these two things. I think that they pull the reader out of the gloomy and forbidding mood. Whatever Reardon came to "get" is going to be the subject of the next portion of their conversation. If they don't talk about it directly, they'll talk around it.

Bernita said...

Is it "How do you fare, Mr Raerdon" or "How do you, fair Mr. Raerdon" ?
Either way, you need a comma.

Anonymous said...

I found this opening kind of confusing. The names, the bill collector reference, the failure reference. On many points I found it difficult to orient myself, and there isn't enough here to guess what the author is going after. I'd read more to see if it cleared my confusion, but I'm willing to bet the opening could be crisper.

Ello said...

I liked this for tone and voice. Some inconsistencies as pointed out by EE and DAve, but overall, I liked it and would definitely keep reading as it has my interest.

BuffySquirrel said...

When I read that first line, the comma stands out as being wrong. It's got no justification being there. Bad comma! bad!

I also don't know what "in the least" is meant to tell me. Maybe it's a colloquialism that hasn't reached Britland yet.

Overall, I felt this opening was trying a bit too hard--it's straining for deep and meaningful but a more straightforward style would probably suit it better.

~Nancy said...

Being the anal retentive secre--er, administrative assist--administrative professional that I am (no, really), that comma in the first sentence really bugged me.

As there's no use for it, please delete it. On the other hand, what Bernita said is a good thing: When addressing someone, you should put a comma before their name.

I like the mood and tone of this, and I think I know what you're getting at with the character names.

The one you've tagged "Cal" calls the other "Mr. Raerdon". I'm guessing that Cal is pissed to see the other guy at his door. I mean, when a little kid does something wrong, don't you address him/her with his/her full name?

That's what I get out of that exchange, anyway.

Maybe just a bit more detail is needed here so I figure out when this took place (contemporary, back in the 1800s, the 1960s, whatever) - unless that comes along in the next couple of paragraphs.

I'd read on.