Critics, Assemble!!

I have a big favor to ask of you all. Slight pause. You don’t mind at all; in fact, you’re glad I asked?

Thank you. You’re so sweet.So, here it is…

I have this random teaser that my brain made up one day two years ago, when I was supposed to be doing Algebra. (Don’t leave Algebra Addicts. Not everyone can be as focused as you weirdos.) Would you give it a quick glance through, and see what you think? I want to know everything – like this genre, hate this genre, hate the writing…

Favor…be brutal. Not kidding.

He hated the sun. Odd, because he also hated the dark.  But the sun was worse. It exposed him, left him cowering, shaking. Exposed his filthiness, and the squalor that he lived in. The sun shone into his tiny hut every morning, and the boy supposed he should be used to its splendor by now.

But he wasn’t. At least in the darkness, he could hide. Terrified, but hidden. But no one can hide from the sun. Blinding rays invading the room, searching out falsehoods and hidden secrets, the sun demands honesty. Darkness is at least tolerant. It has its own secrets to hide.

Wild-eyed, the boy scrambled to a sitting position, and frantically scanned his surroundings. All was as usual. Breathing heavily, he took in the dirt floor, crawling with unspeakable things, the tiny hole in the wall that passed for a window, his own filthy rags – then finally…the sun.

The boy shrieked aloud, his cry as keening as a hunted animal nearly in the grasp of its predator, and huddled in the darkest corner he could find.

Almost gabbling with fear, the boy tried to find the quiet spot in his mind that he so often sought, the one where he could forget this torment.

This time, peace eluded him. He knew, with every fiber in his being, that with the sun, came the one he feared most.

His name was unknown to most men. Many, if they lived to call him anything at all, called him, “The Jackal.” Leering, the Jackal’s swarthy face invaded the boy’s worst nightmares, and chased away his sweetest dreams. This man was the sole reason for the boy’s lonely existence. He was also the object of the boy’s hatred. One always hates those that he fears.

The boy’s dark, almond-shaped eyes filled with unshed tears. Unashamed – for who was to see them? – he allowed to them trickle, unchecked, in grimy rivulets down his cheeks.

The worst part was the uncertainty. For many days, the Jackal came as regularly as the rising sun. Looming over the boy, his dark silhouette in the doorway, he would carelessly toss unwanted scraps of food to the boy, as he would to a stray dog. As the boy scrambled about on all fours, collecting each tiny morsel, the Jackal’s raucous laughter would fill the tiny enclosure. It boomed, ebbed, then grew even louder, until it seemed to fill the boy’s very being. He would cower in a corner, his slender fingers over his ears, until the Jackal stopped laughing, only then to be beaten violently, until he longed for death.

Other days, the boy would be left alone, sometimes for a week at a time. He almost welcomed these times, though his emaciated body rebelled. His nimble mind raced, as his body slowed into a food-deprived lethargy. Foolish dreams of escape and overwhelming revenge dominated his thoughts. The boy knew they were foolish, but he relished them, turning them over and over until he had complete scenarios of victory over his tormentor worked out in his mind, scenes of the Jackal groveling in the dust before him, his shaggy head bowed in utter defeat.The boy gave a shuddering sigh. Apparently, this was going to be one of those days where the Jackal did not make an appearance. The blood-red sun was already high overhead, too late for his enemy to come.

Uncurling from his fetal position, the boy cautiously stretched his cramping limbs. His mind drifted away to thoughts of happier times…when he had no enemies, when he loved life and laughter, when there was no man called the Jackal.

When he called the Jackal, “Father.”














About loverofwords20

Allison is an aspiring author, and a lover of words, music, and the Lord Jesus Christ. She is also abysmal at these “about you” things, being unable to think of quirky characteristics at the drop of a hat. However, she enjoys singing randomly and loudly, and laughing hysterically while being caught in the rain.
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10 Responses to Critics, Assemble!!

  1. nate65 says:

    Very interesting idea to come out of Algebra. 😀 Though I am not a veteran reviewer or a writer, I will do my best. 🙂 I liked it and it interested me enough to want to read more. The style of writing was spot on for the feeling you were trying (and succeeded) to convey. The only thing (and this is just me) is that it felt as if there were some details missing. Like age or hair color. Other than that, I thought it was a really good first draft. 😀

    • For some reason, many of my more interesting ideas have sprung from Algebra’s influence…it couldn’t be that I find Algebra slightly…dull. Nah. 😉 Thanks so much for the feedback! I’ll definitely take what you’ve said into consideration. As always, I appreciate your taking the time to read my blog. 🙂

  2. Larkleaf says:

    Full disclosure: I was surprised I like it as much as I did. Really, the things I read online from aspiring writers are never like this. Usually I’m turned off within the first two or three sentences, though I feel obligated to read the whole thing. This time, I kept waiting for the drop, but it didn’t come. I actually am very intrigued, and would like to see more results of your Algebra 😉
    Good writing style– not fluffy feeling, subtle. Good set up– I’m assuming he’s going to get out of this situation, and I’m wondering how you’re going to get the kid to a psychologist soon enough. I think the best thing is that you start having a terrible place for this character to be in, and I can’t see how he’s going to get out. But you, as the all-knowing writer, you know how, and can tease me with that information to get me to keep reading. It didn’t bother me that you didn’t include details like age or hair color; I think those come out the further you write, and too many detail in a first chapter can be distracting.
    Yes…I actually really liked it a lot.

  3. Wow. I wish more critics were as brutally encouraging as you. 🙂 Thanks! I especially appreciated your style of critiquing – thorough, yet specific, which is invaluable. Thanks so much for checking out my blog AND being willing to comment – the extra mile, for sure! 🙂

  4. Larkleaf says:

    Actually, this is the first time I’ve ever published any of my (very numerous) mental critiques 😉

    • In which case, I am even more honored. Thank you! 🙂 Your critique was extremely helpful, so your mental critiques must have been great practice. Haha – the other day I found myself mentally chewing up a book and spitting it out in disgust, mainly because the author relied purely on action rather than character development. This must be a favorite writer’s pasttime. 😉

  5. I like your writing style. Keep going!

  6. Sarah Me says:

    Even though I am a bit late, I still wanted to leave a comment. 🙂
    I loved this! It is so hard to find modern writers who use this writing style. I loved the large vocabulary, and your similes were excellent! The story was the kind that leaves you feeling as though you have uncovered a remarkable truth when you finish it. I just sat there like “wow!” and I continually thought about it throughout the day.
    I love your writing style! Keep writing! 😀

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂 As an aspiring writer, it’s so hard to share your faulty work with the world. I remember a writer once saying something to this effect, “It’s like taking your new born baby out into public, into a throng of ogling people, and expecting only praise for his wrinkly, red face and pruny hands.” That’s very much how I feel about my writing – it’s dear to my heart, but oh…how many faults one could find! That’s why I so appreciate each and everyone of your guys’ encouragement. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment! 🙂

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