Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Beginning 184

Tom huddled under the eaves, hands tucked close to his body for warmth, water dripping coldly off the thatch onto his elbows and bare feet. It'd be night soon, and they'd be calling him again, trying to draw him from the chalked circle that kept him from walking into their jaws. Did they find him, that circle'd do naught to keep them out; they'd pluck him from it and suck him like a marrowbone. He'd seen what was left from that.

Damn you to hell, Master Gybbins, damn you. You said you'd teach me; seven year safe you promised me and bare five of it gone. Devil take thee.

The devil had, too, but his master walked abroad by night still, and he'd have Tom if Tom stepped wrong.

Tom tightened his tunic around himself and listened intently to the night. There, beyond the dripping of the rain and the chattering of his own teeth, was another sound: the scuffle of guileful feet across gravel; and then the moist warmth of breath on his neck.

“Five years in the study of the alchemist,” Gybbins murmured to Tom’s soft, prone neck, “and the man doesn’t know that rain washes out the chalk.”

Tom glanced down and found himself unprotected.

“I have you at last,” the master whispered.

Thus it was that Master Gybbins, corrupt by the Devil for sure, plucked his pupil out. And thus it was, also, that Tom came to understand: being sucked like a marrowbone was not so bad after all.

Opening: batgirl.....Continuation: anonymous


Bernita said...

I'm confused.
That's a pretty small and odd space for a circle of protection, for one.
Two, you seem to imply it both protects him ("that kept him from walking into their jaws") and does not ("the circle'd do naught to keep them out.")
Consider putting a period after "warmth" and beginning a new sentence with "The water dripped..."

Anonymous said...

This isn't a bad start for a story. Clear up the (perceived) continuity problem(s). I would read more. -JTC

pacatrue said...

From werewolf popes to a sperm's POV to now being sucked like a marrowbone, I can feel my innocent soul being corrupted irrecovably by this blog.

Suddenly, I feel naughty. I think I'll go put my recyclables in the regular trash bin.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know why Microsoft Word flags "it's" in a sentence like "Larry carefully placed it in it’s stand."

I thought the second was a legitimate posessive apostrophe scene. Is Bill Gates trying to tell me that inanimate objects cannot own other inanimate objects? Did I miss class that day?

Evil Editor said...

Its is possessive. It's means "it is."

Anonymous said...

You can't put an apostrophe in the possessive "its", is the problem. You must have missed the class where they told you that "its" is the possessive and "it's" is a contraction for "it is."

Anonymous said...

think: his, hers, yours, ours, theirs... its

pronouns don't take apostrophes when becoming possesive.

roach said...

I had the same moment of confusion as bernita. But I like the writing and would read on.

Anonymous said...

Thanks folks. I guess I did miss that class!

Dave Fragments said...

There's a boo-boo in the writing.
"Did they find him" should be "If they found him" that circle would do nothing to keep them out.
Then it all makes sense.

He's standing in a strange hut with a leaky room hiding from demons. They apparently can't harm him if they can't see him.

The writing is OK. However, I have a question for the author - what happens next?
He escapes from the demons trying to find him? That's a little ho-hum.
He is captured and dragged off to hell to be punished or turned into a demon.
He is captured and turned into a wandering zombie or ghost or worse yet, a good demon who has a conscience and hates being bad.

Please tell me you have a more interesting alternative.

BTW this is only 129 words.

Anonymous said...

Anon said...

""Larry carefully placed it in it’s stand."...I thought the second was a legitimate posessive apostrophe scene."

I always goofed those up until one of my college professors said: "If you can't swap it out for *it is*, then skip the apostrophe.

Not sure if this is correct, but I don't sweat bullets over which to write anymore.

Anonymous said...

"Did they find him," is an archaic way of saying "if they found him," and is perfectly fitting with the rest of this piece, which is set way, way back. You can even find instances where "and" and "if" are interchangeable, if you go back far enough.

I'm not the author, but I did read this bit--maybe as much as six months or a year ago, on a British editor's critique site. Can't really remember the site, but I did remember the piece, because it drew me right in with a feeling of ancient creepiness.

The protag goes on to break into his master's house to collect his meager belongings, and tries to escape the horde of ravening vampires(?), of which is master is now a card-carrying member. The chalk circle protects him from their luring spell, but not from them if they actually find him. The language of the piece is consistent with the period it's set in.

pacatrue said...

kis said: "The protag goes on to break into his master's house to collect his meager belongings, and tries to escape the horde of ravening vampires(?), of which is master is now a card-carrying member. The chalk circle protects him from their luring spell, but not from them if they actually find him. The language of the piece is consistent with the period it's set in."

Which is detailed in part in Facelift 254 with the "ugly resentful teenager" Tom and an "overweight middle aged" herbologist/witch. Undead Revenants here we come.

batgirl said...

paca, where did you get an innocent soul to be corrupted? Whose was it?

The continuation picks up the style nicely, which couldn't have been easy.

batgirl said...

Oh, and kis, you remember Torgo's Honest Critiques? Woo! I lift a glass of champers to you, with a tipsy chorus of Old Lang Syne.

Anonymous said...

Torgo! That's it! Could never remember the name, but I do recall his funky hat in the photo. For the briefest of moments I thought perhaps Torgo was actually our dear Evil sans devil suit, but then I remembered how nice he was. No sense of sarcasm, no boiling contempt, no evil genius. I can't imagine EE in that hat, either.

Just wanted to say that I really liked what you posted on that site, to the point that I recognized it the moment I read "suck him like a marrowbone," here. Love "he'd have Tom if Tom stepped wrong," too. The old, colloquial usage is just perfect. Don't know how you could have sustained it for one chapter, let alone a whole novel. It's totally something I'd read. Heck, I'd even let my kids go without breakfast for two days, and buy it.

Anonymous said...

The archaic language may fit the story, but most readers are not archaic and not all of them are going to understand that sentence. You're overdoing the archaic bit when it gets in the way of comprehension. I'd advise the writer to drop that construction.


kiss-me-at-the-gate said...

I love the archaic feel and didn't have a problem with the archaic constructions -- I loved them, in fact. The voice is just great.

And the continuation... ROFL.

Anonymous said...

Oh, pshaw, J. I was reading medievals that used words like fie and fash and enow instead of enough when I was twelve. As long as the voice is consistant, any reader at a seventh grade level will be able to absorb and accustom himself to it. After the first chapter or two, you don't even notice it anymore.

(Note, this is not the same as writing in accented vernacular, lahk if ah wanned ta sound lahk Hank Hill, ah tell ya hwat. Reading pages of stuff like that is excrutiating.)

Were they smart enough, they would be more than able to decipher that construction.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and in the absence of copious protestations from our dear Evil, I am forced to reevaluate my assumption that he is not some kindly British dude in a weird, floppy hat. Or was it a pith helmet? Can't quite remember.

Should old acquaintance, and all that, batgirl. Cheers.

McKoala said...

I knew I'd seen this somewhere before. Ah, Torgo! I used to hang out there too.

I think I liked this then, and I like it now. Nothing wrong with only sending 129 words if they are the right words.

writtenwyrdd said...

Actually, Dave, "did they find him" is an archaic but correct form.