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October 15th, 2004, 11:08 AM
Hello fellow writers,
I would appreciate some feedback on my prologue. Don't hold back, just bear in mind that English isn't my native language and although I tried to be accurate grammatically etc, mistakes can (and probably will) of course occur...


Prologue: A prayer answered

It was one of those summerdays that felt perfectly right, Keld decided while he stepped on the porch of the little cottage. No sign of the scorching heat that always made him melt in his boots, but a nice, soothing warmth accompanied by a slight breeze that constantly cooled his face and bare arms. Just perfect.
He stretched contently and in the midst of a unstoppable yawn he caught a glimmer of red in the distance, just at the edge of the wood. There she was. Returning already. She must have risen early today, despite their late return from the market festivities yesterday.
With a mixture of pride and love he looked at his approaching wife, one arm grasping a basket filled with berries, the other high in the air waving a greeting. When she came nearer he could see her cheeks were flushed with excitement and the long black hair was flowing freely through the caressing fingers of the wind.
God, but she was beautiful. Still, after all those years. Not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, he wandered how he deserved someone like her, what strange but delightful spell had made her fall in love with him. She was so beautiful, and he was…well, so damn ordinary.
She walked slowly down the path to their home, her hips swaying seductively in the tight scarlet-red dress and that laugh…O that laugh…It could still take his breath away. It always would.
Not much later she put the basket down, jumped in his arms and caught him in a tight embrace. Really, really tight…He tried to ease it a little, but all breath was squeezed out of his lungs. He desperately gasped for air. No breath…He could get no… breath…

He could get no breath.
His eyes jumped open and stared right into another pair of eyes, clouded over like moistured glass, that looked through him as if he wasn’t there at all. Calli? Calli?? Gods…that…that was impossible. She was dead…he himself buried her in the field next to the house, under a bed filled with the golden flowers she loved so much. But the hands around his throat were a chilling reality and what he smelled were definitely no flowers.
Transparant veins lay like fat blue worms on the back of the boney hands and the skinny arms, as if there wasn’t blood flowing through them but icewater. Above a fleshless grin the eyes were dead and empty, the warm brown they once possessed nothing but a memory. Strings of muddy hair were plastered to the thin, blue-ish skin that was wrapped tightly around her skull. By Althus, what kind of foul, dark magic was this?
How many times had he not prayed for a chance to hold her once more, to feel her warm, soft body against his own and whisper in her ear how much he loved her? Why? had he demanded of the Gods when he found her that fateful day, floating head down in the calm water of the lake. Why her? Why not me? Take me instead…
Foolish words. He had been a fool, mad with grief, but a fool nonetheless. Gods did not explain themselves to the stupid and arrogant likes of Keld Thyssen. And they certainly did not like being mocked and accused by a mere mortal. Death came for all, young and old, and when it did it was final.
A seizure, the docter explained to him later. She must have had an attack near the water and fallen in. A tragedy, he told Keld, because the seizure itself would most likely have passed in no time…On its own it surely wouldn’t have been life-threatening. She must however have been unable to save herself from drowning. Just Bad luck. Bad luck. Little, meaningless words. It made no sense. How could someone so warm and giving deserve such a cold end?
There was certainly nothing warm in her embrace anymore. Hands that had once lovingly caressed him, now held him in an iron grip and squeezed all life out of him. Life. Exasperation and shock finally made way for the chilling realisation what was at stake. This was not a dream. He could die here. He immediately grabbed the icy hands and tried to get himself out of their deadly grip, but she was unnaturally strong and his own powers were rapidly diminishing.
And she was cold. So cold. His hands got stuck to her skin and they burned as if touched by red-hot fire. Gods, This couldn’t be happening. How was this possible? She was dead. Dead! O Calli, what have they done? What have I done? This was no longer the woman he loved. This was some creature that had crawled out of Hell and taken over her body.
In a growing panic and ignoring the burning pain he kept wrestling with the hands. What to do? He didn’t want to die. Not like this.
Wait! Yes... yes, perhaps that would work. O Gods, let it work. He would have no strength left for a second chance. With a sharp tug he pulled his hands back and stared with a disgusted look at the shards of her skin that were hanging from his palms. Bloody, bloody hell. No sound came from the ghastly lips, no reaction but that frozen rabid grin, and the pressure around his throat never ceased. If his throat wasn’t being crushed, he probably would have screamed like a madman.
Black spots danced before his eyes. He realized that it would’t be long now before he lost consciousness. It was now or die. No. Not like this. Not… this…easy. In a last desperate attempt he let himself suddenly fall backwards, and while the demon he once called wife fell with him, her fingers still firmly around his throat, he planted both feet in her stomach and kicked out with all his might.
A sickening crunch followed him into darkness…

October 15th, 2004, 12:04 PM
Not much later she put the basket down, jumped in his arms and caught him in a tight embrace.

"Not much later" is very passive. I think you should try to make it more immediate.

You're doing a lot of 'telling', trying to catch us up with your character but it seems to work here. I'm not sure I'd be calling myself a fool and remembering all about her death while being choked though. I think I'd be more worried about trying to survive it. Assuming I survived I can go on later about her tragic death.

Overall I liked it, its a good transition from a dream to waking up and finding your dead lover is trying to kill you.

October 15th, 2004, 05:51 PM
Very chilling, it got me in a mood wher I thought they were a happy-couple, and then, well, she is a zombie and choking the life outta him.
I liked the way you described her, however Keld needs more description.

In other ways, I really liked it, gave me a scary movie feeling.

Bitter Buffalo
October 16th, 2004, 09:50 AM
Not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, he wandered how he deserved someone like her,

I think that should be "wondered" instead of "wandered".

I like the transitation between extremes as well. But it feels a little weighed down with so many descriptive details to me. The description of those details is well written, just a little unneccessary at times I feel.

October 17th, 2004, 07:52 AM
Thanks for the replies and nice words.
Good advice, expendable, I must admit that I had the same thought myself after reading the story back. The memorie-sequence during the attack will be shorter and more to the point, while the rest of it will be used later...
Keld will of course be described more in the coming chapter, where more will be explained about the prologue...
And wandered must indeed be wondered, like I said, some sentences/words need to be checked ...
Keep the criticism coming... :)