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Reviews from
Dark Tales


Viewing comments for Chapter 4 "Goddess of the Hunt"

A collection of short tales of the supernatural

  78 total reviews 
Comment by
Dav54
 
 
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Nice blending of ancient myth with a modern tale of vampires! I have to wonder why Artemis would choose George to be the one to take her virginity after all those years (thousands) of celibacy. She would be more fascinating to me if she merely teased George and kept her self even more aloof, interested in George only as prey.

But that's just me. Your story works well as written and was quite a fun read! I'm a fan, now!


 Comment Written 16-Feb-2016



reply by the author on 16-Feb-2016
    Hi, Dav. My best work, I think, is in the novel Turncoat, which isn't yet finished. It's not horror. I do write it, sometimes, and The House in the Woods (from the book you looked through) came in second in a site contest.
Comment by
KathyH
 
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Wow what a creative ride you have written here. A great job of building suspense as you develop this tale of intrigue. Story flowed well and had lots of punch. Kathy


 Comment Written 12-Jan-2012



reply by the author on 12-Jan-2012
    Hi, Kathy. Thanks for the encouraging review. I appreciage it.
Comment by
wordsfromsue
 
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This is the first story of this type that I've ever read. I really enjoyed all the cross and double cross going on! Arrogant George getting his just desserts at the end was particularly satisfying.
You used lots of interesting imagery throughout and I liked the story's pace.

Good chilling tale. :-)


 Comment Written 12-Jan-2012



reply by the author on 12-Jan-2012
    Thanks for a great review, Sue. The contest ends Feb 1, I think, so there'll be a lot of similar things on the front page around then. I just hope mine's the best.
Comment by
patsolstad
 
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This is so well done. Your writing is precise, you've used a very creative idea, and you kept me with you to the end. I hope you win the contest.


 Comment Written 12-Jan-2012



reply by the author on 12-Jan-2012
    So do I! Thanks for the encouraging review, my friend.
Comment by
WilliamDeen
 
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Nice work with the pantheon and mixing in the vampire/wolf thing. Good descriptions, details, and dialogue. An enjoyable read and good tale for 1700 words. Thanks for sharing. Keep Read & Writing. billy


 Comment Written 12-Jan-2012



reply by the author on 12-Jan-2012
    Hello, Billy. Fun to write. And I have NO idea where the idea came from! Thanks for reviewing.
Comment by
Penny 4 your thought
 
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Excellent story kept me in it till the end. I like your style. Your choice of art is good by Omntch. Although I might have chosen a more dramatic piece. All in all a solid five.
A Penny 4 your thought


 Comment Written 12-Jan-2012



reply by the author on 12-Jan-2012
    Hi, Penny. Wasn't much choice in pictures. Glad you liked it, and I certainly appreciate the review.
Comment by
Celtic~Soul
 
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Hey, Norma! I ran across your post and thought I'd flex my critique muscles a bit. I've inserted comments in the text. I just hope my reactions and impressions are helpful. The story's got good bones, but I'm not sure it's dressed in the right outfit, if you get my meaning.

In ( ) is a suggested delete; in [ ] a suggested add.

Shout if you have any questions!
Dawn

* * *

George sits at a long Formica-topped table This doesn't really tell me anything, doesn't give me a strong visual. Make me feel the library and see him and in the process set the tone: George sits in the University of Washington library, a dim, stately place with dark tables and weighty metal shelves. The room smells of precious paper and spent time. in the library of the University of Washington, trying to study. The relentless ticking of the wall clock seems to annoy him and he twitches like a flea-bitten dog. An onlooker might think he needs a fix--and he does, but not the usual sort.

"I don't give a tinker's damn about the ancient Greeks or their gods," he mumbles to his book. "So what the hell am I doing with my head stuck in the Iliad?"

"May I help?"

He jumps. "Huh? (Now w)[W]here'd you come from?" His voice is like ebony satin, dark, and smooth. At this point I'm confused about the POV. I don't know whose we're in! The author's? Another character? Third person, essentially, George's POV? There are mixed signals and nothing in the first paragraph to ground me in character or time. Perhaps an addition to the opening paragraph to bring us into first person with emotion and mood? Maybe: I watched him, struggling there and moved closer. And then in this paragraph add how his voice makes her feel or what she thinks about it: ...ebony satin, dark, and smooth, but I'm not seduced by him. His magnetism doesn't tug at my blood.

"I must be slipping if a looker like you escapes my notice." Is this his dialogue? I got confused here again, I think because of the gap between this line and the smooth voice observation. Should this be with the paragraph immediately above since it all seems to be his dialogue?

"No wonder you didn't see me. You've been staring at the same page for twenty minutes." Okay, so this would be the first person narrator, but I still don't know who this is. Woman? Man? If I can't get a small fix on "who" I am in the story, I have trouble getting into it.

"There's an exam on the Iliad next week, and I'm going to look like a damn fool. How can I remember all those gods and goddesses when I can't even keep the heroes straight? But I'm forgetting my manners. I'm George. George Knight." Lots of cliche work going on here. How old is he? Is he middle-aged or younger and trendy? Would he use that outdated 'manners' line? If he's going to uni, wouldn't he be more 20-something and all text-speak? And, of course, when I discover later he's a vampire, I wonder why he's at uni studying Greek lit. If he wanted to pick up co-eds, there's got to be an easier way! How else could you work in the gods/goddesses without the setting feeling a bit off...maybe there's a museum exhibit where they meet?

He smiles and gestures for me to join him, all the while giving me the once-over. His kind's good at that, born womanizers. But I know he's even better at something else, and that's why I followed him here.

"I'm Artie." I offer my hand, and he pumps it. The handshaking sort of collides in the same way the manners line does. I don't feel I'm getting to know or understand these characters. Too many incongruities, maybe? Or not enough depth? Maybe she could comment about his genteel, Southern-style manners or something?

"Pleased to meet you, but if you'll pardon my saying so, your parents should have crowned you with something highbrow, like Constance or Victoria." He leans in close, and I smell the fetid odor of death. Death? Huh? This has not been in any way foreshadowed, so now I'm wondering if he's a zombie, corpse, mortician, med student. Also 'fetid odor' is cliche and non-descriptive. Help me smell him and show me how it Artie reacts to it. Maybe: He leans close, wafting his death-stench in my space. If I didn't know his kind as I do, I'd be put off by the suffocating putridness, but in this case it confirmed I had the right man.

"Actually, it's Artemis, but no one calls me that except family."

He doesn't like my name How does she know this? We don't yet know she's a goddess, so it appears to be a POV slip--unless she observes something about his reaction?, but he doesn't laugh. His glance flicks to my cleavage and lingers. His angelic face is impassive except for the gleam in his black eyes, but he's no angel. I remember that sensuous mouth smeared with blood. A bit confused again. Have they met before? Smeared with blood? With a bit of foreshadowing this could work, but I don't know enough about her motivation or their past to understand when she saw him full of blood.

"I took the same exam last year, George. I could tutor you. Why don't we get out of here and find a nice quiet bar where you can buy a girl a drink?" It's a clich©d pickup line, to be sure, but it never fails. From an offer to tutor to getting a drink? Does she want to help him learn or get him drunk? I'm confused and the tease to buy her a drink is just too commonplace for these potentially weird characters...I mean he smells of death and she's named Artemis!

"Great idea." He offers his arm and I take it. "My car's out back."

His vehicle's a sleek silver Lamborghini roadster, gleaming in the well-lit parking lot and speckled (with hundreds of) shimmering raindrops. Yup. Now I'm thinking: If he drives this kind of car, what's he doing at the uni? Either there are pieces missing or his character has too many conflicting elements. I don't know whether to see him as the lowly student or the rich poseur with other motives.

"Dammit!" he snarls. "I just washed it."

"I'm glad it rained while we were inside. Might have ruined my hair." I pat my perfectly coiffed locks. Perfectly coiffed locks? Sorry, but this neither shows me anything nor does it seem to fit with what's going on--plus it's a bit cliche! What DOES she look like? Maybe she filters fingers through blonde curls? Or pushes dark waves from her face? Or consciously teases him with a tuck behind the ear? Maybe: I tuck a few waves behind my ear and peer up at him. I chose dark hair for this meeting, knowing he's a night creature and given to appreciating exotic nuances others might not notice. I smiled, my lips full and red with blood-colored lipstick from that pricey kiosk place in the mall.

He heaves a sigh and quickly pastes on a fake smile Hmmm, heaves a sigh, fake smile/eager? Cliche and POV slip! Paragraph seems laden with a few POV slips--or is she omniscient? Could be, but you have to tell us and explain why/how!, eager to get on with things. After all, a man can't seduce while having a temper fit over a few water spots, and seduction is on his mind, among other things. I have a few things on my mind as well.

We chat amicably as the car purrs along the city streets. He complains he's only getting eight miles per gallon, but I know he isn't a fool. It's his way of bragging about the size of his bank account, and the Lamborghini's already done that for him. But what do I care about mundane things like cars and bank accounts? I smile and nod as if hanging on his every word. Okay, now I feel we're getting into this, learning her deceptive motives and that she has a specific plan for him.

Instead of the dark hole I expected, George takes me to a cozy, well-lit bar where the music is soft and a fireplace crackles near our table. The scent of blazing pine logs permeates the room. He orders a bloody Mary and I ask for a vodka Collins.

"Interested in a little proposition?" I reach under the table to squeeze his knee.

"Tell me more." He glances at my cleavage again.

"Later. We came here to study, remember?"

He nods and pulls out a notepad. "You're a hard taskmaster."

"Among other things."

I spend the next hour telling him of the beautiful Helen, wife of Menelaos, whose kidnapping by Paris, Prince of Troy, sparked the Trojan War. I speak of the brave Achilles and the killing of the equally brave Hector and tell George about the involvement of Zeus and lesser gods. He sits there, caught up in the tale and forgetting to take notes.

"The way you tell it, it's almost like you were there." He shoves his untouched drink aside. "With you for a coach, I might ace that damn test!"

He buys me another drink and we make small talk while I finish it. I wait for him to make the first move; when he doesn't, I reach across the table to tickle the back of his hand with one red-polished fingernail. "If you still want to hear my proposition, we should find somewhere else."


George's taste in motel rooms is even better than his choice of bars. Perhaps the ceiling mirror and red velvet bedspread are a little gauche, but the bed's nice and the room's soundproof. His trysts would require soundproofed rooms to hide the screams, but I'm not afraid. We make love. It hurts because I'm a virgin. Thud. Sorry, but this drops like a dull bomb. Just simply stated, 'it hurts cause I'm a virgin. After how many centuries and this is her only reaction? And, since I've read to the end, would a powerful goddess lose her virginity to a modern-day vampire just to get revenge on a poacher? She's a goddess, of the hunt and wild animals, among other things, why not just slay the poacher and George herself? She's a goddess, who'd know? She could just pop outta the picture afterward and it'd be two unsolved deaths. In the warmth of the afterglow, I let my fingers trail through his chest hair.

"George honey, how long have you been a vampire?"

He gasps and pushes up on his elbows. "How long have I been a what?"

"Oh I know what you are. I've seen you in the woods, feeding from a stag. You've drained several in the last few months. Not as good as human blood, is it? Never touch the stuff myself."

To his credit, he doesn't deny it. "I like your company, Artie--I really do. But I can't have you telling folks--"

"Hear me before you drop your fangs, lover. There's someone I want you to take out, my ex-fianc©. He ran off with a bimbo and now that she's abandoned him, he wants to come back. It's so not happening. I'll pay you whatever you want if you'll do him and hide the body. We'll part friends, and I'll disappear without telling a soul."

He locks eyes with me, and I can see he's mulling it over. "Maybe."

"What's worrying you? Nobody believes in vampires. Just make it look like an animal attack."

He shakes his head, astonished. "Damn, I admire your guts. You're a brave gal, knowing what you know and still coming here with me. I don't need money. I'll do it as a favor. How did you know what I am?"

I don't answer the question. "That's nice. When?"

"Tonight. I'm tired of feeding on animals." He lies down again and pulls me to him, nipping the side of my neck in vampiric foreplay.

Later, I ask him to drive to the thick pinewoods. "Brad's homeless now," I say with a malevolent grin. "His girlfriend took him for everything he had, and he's reduced to living in a tent and lucky he can afford even that."

There's no ex-fianc© named Brad, just a homeless guy who poached a pregnant doe last week. He hacked her apart, grabbed his steak, and left her to rot in the underbrush with her unborn fawn. The jerk is where I thought he'd be, and at this hour, he's sure to be asleep. I don't know who he is, and I don't care. He doesn't belong here. I could kill him myself, but I couldn't scare hell out of him. She couldn't? She's a goddess! She could get some dark creature or another to do it, couldn't she? Must be something from Hades willing to do some slaying for her! George can.

Vampire George changes to wolf form, as some of them can do. One second he's a tall hunk, and the next he's a black wolf nuzzling open the tent flap. He's an avenging angel for a murdered doe, a role he doesn't even suspect.

I slip in behind him. The place reeks of unwashed male and cheap gin. The scrawny man on the bed snores, open-mouthed, drooling a little. The wolf snarls, the man wakes screaming and freezes; then George is on him, slashing, ripping into his belly.

The guy recovers and plants a foot in the wolf's furry chest to send it crashing to the floor. His stinking intestines writhe like cobras as he tries to put them back in his ruined body. Blood runs down the tent walls and pools on the dirty mattress.

George changes to his vampire self. "I ought to really mess you up for that kick, you bastard, but I can't take time to play. I'm hungry!"

The guy's dying, but he has enough strength left to throw an arm up. George gives it a jerk. There's a tearing sound, a scream, and the detached arm falls off the bed with a soft plop, its dying fingers clawing the dirt floor. The vampire guzzles the spurting red fountain until it subsides, and then he turns on me.

"I'm sorry, Artie, can't take the chance. You know too much. Gotta say, though, you're sure a fun date."

His dark eyes expand to hide the whites, just as they do in the movies. He throws back his head and hisses, fangs extended, but my laughter stops his strike. Cliche vampire strike! How could you mix this up and surprise us? Make it fresh?

"You should have paid more attention to those myths, my love. There'll be no poaching or bloodletting in these woods unless I allow it. I brought you here to take care of a poacher. By the way, you did it beautifully."

"Shit! You're plain nuts."

"No, I'm Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt, who once turned a man into a magnificent stag and set his own hounds on him. What great fun to see them pull the stag down and rip it to pieces. Too bad I can't do that in your case, Georgie."

"Bring it on, you crazy bitch!"

"No, I'd rather have you meet my brother."

I snap my fingers and the god Apollo, my twin, steps from the shadows, an arrow already nocked. George may not believe in gods and goddesses, but he believes in arrows. He backs away, bloody hands raised, and then turns to run. The arrow flies true, driving its wooden shaft into his vampire heart. Isn't she pissed at George for poaching the stags? She is, right? And she's the goddess of the hunt, so why doesn't she just shoot him with the arrow to begin with? Stalk him and get her revenge? Why's she need Apollo?
I'm thinking you could still use these two character, Artie and George, but why not make her just stalk him directly after a kill? Only maybe don't let on specifically that he's a vampire until she draws back her bow? And before that, show her ruthlessness because she's killed before to protect the deer? Make a bit of a cat and mouse through the woods with him being terrified because he's the one who hunts and no one ever hunts him? I dunno. I think the characters have good potential, but the story doesn't sing for me, and I truly didn't feel the tingle of horror, or even suspense. maybe because I couldn't get into the characters as their currently drawn. I dunno what to recommend other than the scenario above to rework and focus on the two characters and the immediate situation more...in the dark woods, smell of blood, stalking, sweating fear, etc.


Apollo adjusts his headband of laurel leaves and shoulders his bow. "Good game, as usual, but it was too quick. Got any ideas for an encore?" He smiles and steps over the pile of clothes and dust, all that remains of the late George Knight.


 Comment Written 12-Jan-2012



reply by the author on 12-Jan-2012
    You've got some great ideas, which I appreciate. The myth says that Artemis killed or made women sick, and Apollo did the same for me. I need to make it clearer that this is a GAME to her. She knows she'll get him, she just enjoys the cat and mouse. But you do have a lot of good ideas in there and I've a few weeks before the contest. Thanks, Dawn, I appreciate the work that went into this review.
Comment by
Shadow Pahn
 
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Hey Nor84! I really enjoyed your story. Loved the ancient gods angle. There's something you don't read everyday! I'll surely keep an eye on your work. I have little to offer on your writing!


 Comment Written 12-Jan-2012



reply by the author on 12-Jan-2012
    I'm glad you liked it. Great review.
Comment by
Galactia
 
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Well deserving all time best. Congratulations. well thought out and executed story. I only had one issue with it... He was drinking the wrong dang vodka needed to be the vodka raspberry.. winks.. My favourite...but i guess it wouldmn't be greek or would it? :)

Great job
Regards
Galactia


 Comment Written 12-Jan-2012



reply by the author on 12-Jan-2012
    Hee-hee. Maybe there was real blood mixed into that bloody Mary. Thanks, Galactia, great review.
Comment by
robyn corum
Word Twister
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 Rank:  8
 
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The tale itself was told well. I was put off by the language, I'm sorry. I'm a prude, I guess. Could you please also note at the beginning of your stories if there's coarse language involved?


 Comment Written 12-Jan-2012



reply by the author on 12-Jan-2012
    The four stars can't hurt this, and I'm glad you read it, language or not. A vampire, soldier or cop who doesn't cuss in fiction isn't going to come across as real, but my characters rarely use some of the more colorful phrases.
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