Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Beginning 818

The evil elf shoved his stolen chickens into the cottage through the broken window and climbed in after them. They seemed to be in a sort of kitchen. He scrambled from a bench to the table, took a few bites from a loaf of bread and threw the rest to the floor for the chickens. A cat hissed and jumped up to bat at him, but the elf dueled with the animal using his dagger like a rapier until she fled to hide.

He found the baby asleep in a cradle by the hearth. It was a thin little thing, hideous. But they're never too ugly to steal. He made cooing sounds and picked her up, meaning to run out the door, but a thick leather cord tied round her ankle kept her leashed to an iron ring in the floor: a most annoying and fortuitous precaution. What did these people fear? Night elves? He smirked. His reputation preceded him. How flattering. He put the leash on a chicken and took the baby.

But once again he stopped short. No, he thought. You can't beat dogs. Much cooler than children: screaming, puking, shitting little devil's spawn that eat you out of house and home. He was better off with a dog. And to cap it off, that miserable battle-ax Mrs. Sanders and her Colonel husband will know their luck's run out when they find the monstrosity he left leashed in the kitchen in place of their puppy.

Opening: Susan Brown.....Continuation: anon.


Evil Editor said...

If this is for children, I'd go with "sword" rather than "rapier" and "lucky" or "fortunate" rather than "most fortuitous."

I don't see why the leather cord is fortuitous and annoying if the elf can so easily remove it and put it on the chicken. Is it fortuitous for the elf because it's so easily removed? If the parents actually fear night elves, they should come up with something that'll stump one, at least for a few minutes.

Anonymous said...


1. Name the character instead of just calling him the elf?

2. "seemed to be in a sort of kitchen" seems unnecessarily wordy: why not just call it a kitchen?

3. It's not clear to me why he shoved chickens through a broken window and then left them there. Is he trading them for the baby?

Dave Fragments said...

You used "but" three times. What that does is to set up an action and the counter it with the next sentence. It's like watching the audience's heads at a tennis match as the heads go back and forth, left and right.

The cat move toward the elf but the elf moved him back. Stalemate.

Babies are ugly but not too ugly... Make up your mind, would ya?

An IRON ring thwarts kidnapping but not today ,just bring a chicken and the kidnapping is on! That's so Deus Ex Machina and even if it isn't, it's the third reversal in less than 200 words.

I'm watching a tennis match and getting a sore neck going back and forth, back and forth.

I like this concept for an opening but I don't like the individual sentences.

Phoenix Sullivan said...

I think this is a cute reinvisioning of the changeling idea. However, I too wasn't getting the leather leash. Seems like there would be an iron anklet and chain.

I also wondered a bit why a sharp pointy item needed to be compared to another sharp pointy item. I think the word "duel" is enough to get the idea across that he's working the dagger with his arm extended.

Wasn't crazy about the "sort of kitchen" but I loved:
He found the baby asleep in a cradle by the hearth. It was a thin little thing, hideous. But they're never too ugly to steal.

none said...

Okay, he dueled the cat with his dagger. What was the cat using?

Fortuitous is gradually acquiring the meaning of fortunate by frequent misuse, but it's not its original meaning. If anybody cares. Meh.

(why be part of the problem?)

Anonymous said...

Okay, he dueled the cat with his dagger. What was the cat using?

Its nine tales, m'dear - it was a pussy held in great esteem - a cat of nine tales.

Chelsea Pitcher said...

I'm guessing the iron ring was supposed to be enough to scare the elf? I didn't have a big problem with it.

I really liked this opening. I think both "evil" and "stolen" could be taken from the first sentence without losing anything, and "they" in the second sentence could be changed to "he" because "them" in the previous sentence pertained only to the chickens. Otherwise, I had no problems with this and would definitely read on. I liked the duel with the cat and the comments about the baby's hideousness. I liked most everything about this.

none said...

Hmm, and how many tales did the cat have left after the duel? lol

Anonymous said...

Author here: thanks for the comments. It's meant to be for adults, actually, although my spell checker says it's only 4th grade. The elf goes home with nothing. He's meant to be unreliable, someone with grand ideas who can't accomplish anything.

batgirl said...

Maybe a little more show with the cat duel, instead of just telling us he did it? I think this could use a few more tactile / sensory details to bring it to life. What did the chicken do when he pushed it through the window? Did it squawk? Lose feathers? That sort of thing.