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On a hot summer day, four teens flee from bullies only to encounter a bizarre and deadly obstacle.
I enjoyed this story. Not sure your characters always react realistically to the situation at hand (though this is just nit-picking). I may have broken up the first long paragraph a bit - not for content, but for readability. Very imaginative method of death!
Thanks! I appreciate the feedback.
Cool story! It kind of reminded me of Goosebumps or something--but in a good way. There was some pronoun confusion for me. And the dialogue could be cleared up a bit as far as who is speaking when. But I really liked the concept. Good job!
Thanks! I intentionally omitted who was saying what to kind of make it more uneasy and leave it up to the reader. That may have been a bad idea. Glad you liked it.
I keep thinking of Monty Python, but this is a nice take on the old folk tale about the troll who guards the bridge. It's fun, and I liked the ending, but in a way it's sort of an extended tall tale. That would be ok, but all of the realistic elements of the story clash with the folk elements. The story starts out with a realistic situation and realistic characters, but then it gets increasingly less realistic, and I'm not sure that works very well. First, we're asked to buy the idea that the town bullies would actually shoot four younger children with a .22. I might have bought into this if it had been a beebee gun, but these older kids are described as bullies, not homicidal maniacs, so it's a stretch to believe they would kill four kids on an apparent whim, or even to believe the kids would believe that. I think you'd have to do a lot more work to set us up to believe it. I could imagine a gang, for instance, whose members goaded each other into this level of violence, or (leaving it rural) maybe degenerate Deliverance-type guys out in the woods, maybe protecting a still, but whatever it is, I'd have to see a lot more of it before I'd find that situation believable. But then, the story veers away from realism into the realm of folklore. In a folk tale, a troll at the bridge is perfectly believable within the fictional premise of such a story. Yes, but wait--these are realistic characters. Well, plenty of these stories catapult realistic characters into fantastic horror situations. It's the old "pinch me, I must be dreaming" idea, and I do think you handle the kids' reactions to this situation well. It's just that I don't believe they really believe the bullies are going to kill them, so why would they even attempt the bridge. Again, you handle that very doubt well when--SPOILER-- one of the kids balks and dies anyway. So my feelings about the story are mixed. Added to those feelings is this: the kids are realistically drawn enough so that when you just kill them off in the service of the plot gimmick, that feels all wrong to me. That last feeling may simply be my overall discomfort with the genre.
Wow, your review is nearly as long as my story! It definitely was a nod to the troll fable.
SPOILERS: My initial idea was to introduce these nice kids and then have them die, but they needed some motivation to cross the bridge. That's where the bullies and the rifle came in. I decided "Let's set up a fairly believable situation and have things go from bad to WAY worse." Maybe if the bullies were suspected murderers or revenge seeking that may have been better.
The nice kids dying horrible deaths is intended to be a bummer. That's horror, right? I felt bad for them too. That's why I ended it the way I did—to imply there was some sort of justice.
I appreciate the feedback. I may re-write the bullies to be a more believable threat. Thanks!
I think you're right about nice kids dying horrible deaths, and I think the reason it makes me uneasy is that I really don't read much horror and I'm not really a fan of the genre--although I must say that this contest has opened my eyes to the possibilities. But yes, I really do think the bullies need to be meaner than just bullies. Only my opinion.
It gave me chills!!! I read this and I really liked it. It was a nice, well written short story with a lot of detail. I was very entertained, and I was pleased with the ending. Great job!!!
Thank you sir! Glad you enjoyed it!
"What is your name? What is your quest? What is your favorite color?" (sorry)
This was interesting. I like that it went from fear of bullies to horror of the unknown and unexplainable. I didn't think the kids thought they would really get shot, but a gun is a gun, and it's going to be scary to any kids (or adults for that matter). So I try and think back to when I was that age, if bullies in a truck were coming after me shooting guns, and I had this "troll" in front of me essentially offering me life or death? I don't know...It's a good "between a rock and a hard place" scenario.
And then it became the horror equivalent of a Zen Buddhist koan. Very interesting.
I like the story. It felt different than the others I've read, so nice work there.
That's kind of what I was thinking when I was writing it—even though the bullies probably wouldn't do anything, kids are melodramatic and think they're going to die. I needed some reason for the kids to feel stuck, or else they'd just turn around and run away. Based on the feedback I've received I will likely make the bullies a bit more credible and dangerous.
I'm glad that the "Buddhist koan/moderation in all things" message came through.
Thanks for the feedback!
I think i'm going to lean toward Jane on this one. I can sort of by the idea that the first boy might pass even if the kids are just afraid of some gun toting bullies. But the "monster" suggests that the third kid had chose "death" by choosing not to cross, implying that the "monster"(assuming he's only privlege to the knowledge that the kids have about the situation at hand)believes that the older kids would murder the younger kids. So, to make the fear of the bullies equal to the fear of the bridge I think they need to be much more than just bullies.
Other than that i think the reactions and dialouge were very well crafted for the folk-lore tone you have created. This story gets a big thumbs up from me.
Good points. I think I was on the right track, but the bullies need to somehow better balance out the threat of the monster. I'll think on that and try another pass at the story.
Thanks for the thumbs up! I appreciate it!