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Marc Ferris's picture

A Scent of Cinnamon

By Marc Ferris in Scare Us

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Before you steal something you should consider someone, or something might come looking for it.


Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer July 7, 2012 - 4:49pm

This one is showing up as strange jibberish when I try to read it.

Hector Acosta's picture
Hector Acosta from Dallas is reading Fletch July 8, 2012 - 5:27pm

Same here.

Penh's picture
Penh July 7, 2012 - 8:17pm

Overall, it's a good concept with a nifty monster. There are some clunky passages that could use another going-over, but there's nothing really profoundly wrong with it. The reaction of the monster to whoever's wearing the necklace is a nice touch.

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks July 8, 2012 - 9:39am

At first I didn't really like this story. I liked the characters, but the situation they were in was so silly (ancient urn, prying rubies off it, etc.)  that I couldn't believe in it. But as the story went on, I grew to like it a lot. The monster was great. The vision of it in a bowler hat was really fun, that it actually winks at the narrator (a giant winking tarantula!) was fun, the spoiled-brat girlfriend was fun (so that by the end, we're rooting for the tarantula to get her), and many of the descriptions and similes were fun--the bodies like deflating blow-up dolls, etc. I think you should work on the beginning to signal earlier that a lot of the story is tongue-in-cheek. I especially like the suburban mall culture of the setting, and I think you should play that up even more.

Marc Ferris's picture
Marc Ferris from Carmel, California is reading Animal Attraction by Anna David July 8, 2012 - 9:19pm

Thanks,Penh. Thank Jane.

I had fun writing this one, but it was way out of my wheel-house because I've never used my home town as a backdrop before. Then there was getting 3 dead bodies into the story which I suspect made for the clunky stuff. This story was the second of two using the same monster. As I was finishing the last page of the first story I thought of this one instead.

I will reuse this creature again some day in a longer story.

This is fun.

Hector Acosta's picture
Hector Acosta from Dallas is reading Fletch July 9, 2012 - 4:36am


I finally was able to read this by using the suggestion in another thread and opening the story up in chrome. 

I gotta say that I enjoyred reading the story, and a big part of it had to do with the monster itself, so great job. I thought that the monster's introduction and your description of him was excellent. I also think that the final bit, where the narrator tells the creature where the urn is, and how casually the creature got it was really well done.  I'm not sure I liked the last few lines of the story, mostly focusing on the 'salute' part- it felt a bit too cartoony for what otherwise has been a straight horror story. I do like the idea that the creature gives him some sort of form or recognition/acknowledgment though, so maybe I'm just having trouble with the word 'salute'. Maybe something like "It could just have been my mind breaking, but I swore I saw its tentacles waving goodbye to me as it left" something like that. 

Overally, I think the structure of the story is pretty strong. I'm personally always more of a fan of dropping a person right into the story rather than provide flashback, but I can understand that with the word limit, that might not have been viable. If you choose to rework the story and ignore the rules of the contest, I would love to see the story start with the theft and move from there. 

Enjoyable read, thanks for sharing!

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks July 9, 2012 - 6:15am

I like it cartoony!

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks July 10, 2012 - 10:24am

And it takes the ice cream!

OtisTheBulldog's picture
OtisTheBulldog from Somerville, MA is reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz July 12, 2012 - 7:23pm

Hi Marc,

Thanks for sharing. I dug the monster and you used some really nice descriptive language. I liked the kill scenes and the empty wetsuit description. What didnt work for me was that it was just a little too cartoony. It seemed to undermine any horror you may have wanted to create. I'm all for lightening the mood and adding humor in horror, but there's a fine line for it to work both ways. I think if you find a better balance, this could work out really well.

See ya around the boards.


Emma C's picture
Class Facilitator
Emma C from Los Angeles is reading Black Spire by Delilah Dawson July 28, 2012 - 10:58am

Needs some grammar and punctuation work, and I'm a little confused by some of your descriptions. Is Laurie the girlfriend? On page 3 the narrator says he used to have a crush on her until they worked together and he found out she was a brat, but when Mme Genevieve comes looking for Laurie she goes to the narrator first, presumably due to their relationship. 

Due to the clunkiness mentioned by previous reviewers, it was difficult for me to follow your timeline, so I had to go back and reread a few passages to get things straight in my head. 

Props for an original monster, and I see nothing wrong with adding humor. I was drawn to the "cinnamon scent" because I read a long time ago the smell of cinnamon is the inverse of the scent of decay, so it's used to cover up the smells of dead bodies in places like hospitals. Ever since, when I smell cinnamon, I wonder where the corpse is. 

I'd love to see more of your stuff.