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cdregan's picture

They Bite

By cdregan in Scare Us

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Description

Earthquakes shatter the peace of an idyllic suburban town, and something terrible emerges from deep underground. 3900 words. 

Comments

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from Danville Virginia is reading Wide Sargasso Sea July 26, 2012 - 12:54am

I liked this story a lot, especially when we were in the boy's pov. The ending puzzled me a bit. I was thinking SPOILER ALERT the sun would kill them. Am I right that it didn't? I was also thinking D. would be safe in the pond. Am I right that he wasn't? I think I'm right, but I'm not entirely sure.

cdregan's picture
cdregan from outside of Philadelphia is reading The Corrections July 27, 2012 - 7:29am

Yes and yes! I guess I need to go back and add some foreshadowing about the sunlight thing to set up that final moment. Thanks for your comments! 

Janae Green's picture
Janae Green from the Pacific Northwest is reading Liberty's Excess by Lidia Yuknavitch July 26, 2012 - 2:13am

When I was little, my Dad had recorded an old horror movie on VHS that would play after one of my favorite lost-memory movies in a distorted segment about spiders from outer space. I have never gotten that image out of my head.

Ihatespiders.Ihatespiders.Ihatespiders. Good choice.

I think your story is well written. I enjoyed the varying points of view of the characters in reaction to the “monsters.” Also, I absolutely loved your young character's absorption in video games while he's talking to his mother. I believed in your dialogue. Real voices.

As a reader, I would love to know where these creatures came from. Your story has a sci-fi feel to it, so I wonder if there could be some hidden political or environmental meanings behind your monsters. . . yeah?

cdregan's picture
cdregan from outside of Philadelphia is reading The Corrections July 27, 2012 - 7:41am

Glad I touched a nerve! If you remember the title of that movie, please post it or IM me. It doesn't sound familiar. I love cheezy old sci-fi movies (as you can probably tell).

I guess the only political angle I had in mind comes from my concerns over 'fracking' for natural gas. I've read that there were connections to earthquake activity. Coupled with the natural sinkholes in the town (they exist - story I heard when they were building the mall is that they lost a tractor trailer in the one hole I refer to in the story) - some deeply buried weirdness had to be my monster. 

Personally, I'm not afraid of spiders, but tried to come up with something that would creep me out, and burrowing parasites do. Though, I'm pretty sure if I met a jumping spider (Albino or otherwise) I would run away screaming like a preschooler. 

Thanks for commenting!

cdregan's picture
cdregan from outside of Philadelphia is reading The Corrections July 31, 2012 - 12:52pm

UPLOADED NEW DRAFT!!

Mess_Jess's picture
Mess_Jess from Sydney, Australia, living in Toronto, Canada is reading Perfect by Rachael Joyce July 31, 2012 - 3:44pm

Ah, I'm stupid. I try not to read comments before I do my review so they don't taint my reading. Sooo... my review is on your first draft, sorry about that! Hopefully I have differing comments to everyone, so there isn't too much overlap.

Cool story though, you write really well. I'm not afraid of spiders or any insects at all, to the point where I won't let them be killed in my house, I pick them up with a piece of stiff paper and a jar or glass and carry them out. I think it's not very Australian to be scared of big creepy crawlies, but this was pretty creepy!

I made comments in the body of the document, which I've attached. Let me know if you have any questions.

Jess

cdregan's picture
cdregan from outside of Philadelphia is reading The Corrections July 31, 2012 - 7:44pm

Great comments!! Thanks, Jess. In the second draft, I addressed quite a few of your issues (nobody liked when dad scrunched his face into a 'fist') and I took out the "8-inches tall" description. Some other readers said that bit messed with their conception of the critters' scale. I usually try to avoid using measurements — so inorganic. You were the first person who made me aware that not everyone on the planet uses our nutty measurement system based on some old dead guy's body parts. 

The second draft tightened up some themes and stuff. Nothing earth-shattering.

Ha. 

I'm usually a member on this site, I just haven't paid my dues yet. (job hunting - can't justify the fee this month), but I'll look forward to reading some of your other submissions once I go legit. 

Colin Speirs's picture
Colin Speirs from Glasgow, UK is reading Heroes (Joe Abercrombie), Russian Faerie Tales, historical Lovecraft, the Sickly Stuarts, Seabiscuit August 2, 2012 - 11:20am

Hey.

Read the first draft, but I think I got it all.

Moved at a fair old clip, I thought, seeing the page count "strewth" but it zips along, and is very easily visualised. The last image is particularly strong.

It is definitely not a situation I would like to be in, it punches all the "AAAAAAGH GET ME OUT OF HERE".

Scale and so forth didn't bother me as I switch from IMperial to Metric all the time (that generation thing again, and being from the UK)

I am racking my brain about what I'd change but to be honest, when all I have is "formatting" then I think you have it about right

 

Shawn I.'s picture
Shawn I. from New York is reading Important Things That Don't Matter August 2, 2012 - 11:40pm

I made the same mistake of not scrolling down to see there is a second draft. So you may have already addressed some of my "issues".

This is extremely well written. The best of the handful I've read so far. I love how the rug is pulled out from under us at the end. Great imagery and a strong, consistent pace. I like the straightforward approach - nothing too fancy or outlandish that needs a ton of explaining. The writer in me feels unqualified to critique it. But since I consider myself a far better reader than writer I went ahead and did anyway. To be honest, because this was so good I think I was extra critical of little things that work fine how they are. A lot of my recommendations are more personal preference than anything else so I hope you still find them helpful. In the meantime, I will try to get around to reading your 2nd draft. There are just so many stories here! I've already got several lined up.

cdregan's picture
cdregan from outside of Philadelphia is reading The Corrections August 3, 2012 - 8:57am

Thanks, Shawn! I think I hit a few of your comments on the second draft (wasn't sure how to replace the original doc) but you brought up some more good ones that had me slapping my forehead. Very helpful! Thanks! 

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Fish Bites Cop by David James Keaton August 5, 2012 - 9:56pm

Dregan, I read the second draft. I've never been fond of spiders. I think it has to do with watching Arachnidphobia when i was 8. This story definately freaked me out. Great suspense. One of the scarriest in the compettion for sure and very well written. I think the flash sideways work really well too. And the narrative through the news broadcast. I give this a definate thumbs up. Thanks for sharing.

 

--Jonathan--

cdregan's picture
cdregan from outside of Philadelphia is reading The Corrections August 6, 2012 - 5:10pm

Thanks, Jonathan! I appreciate the vote and comments! 

La Emme Nikita's picture
Class Facilitator
La Emme Nikita from Minneapolis is reading The Drowning Girl August 6, 2012 - 4:44pm

*spoilers*

I usually read the piece, then the comments, then comment myself, so unfortunately I read the first draft. 

I didn't think I was going to like the multiple POVs but in the end I did; it added depth to the story and helped build the suspense. I liked that your monster wasn't directly associated with the earthquakes because when it appears it's a genuine surprise: I went from "what's causing these earthquakes?" to "OMFG spiders are laying eggs in people?".  

It's silly, but I was confused about the location- it's not pinned down other than "east coast". This line sounded funny, because Maryland is on the east coast: "The last time an earthquake of this magnitude hit the East Coast was back in eighteen-eighty-four. It was felt as far away as Vermont and Maryland."

I particularly liked your visual of the pit in the shopping mall littered with sunglasses. 

Nice work!

 
cdregan's picture
cdregan from outside of Philadelphia is reading The Corrections August 6, 2012 - 5:18pm

Thanks for your comments! Yeah, I couldn't figure out a way to replace the file with draft 2. Sorry about that.

I purposely left out the exact name of the town because it would cause a speed bump for readers - King of Prussia, PA. I can just hear readers thinking "Wait, they live in a town called what now?" 

Yeah, I grew up near a big obnoxious mall.... and there really are half-ass-filled sinkholes under part of it. I remember hearing when they were building the mall that a tractor trailer disappeared into one. 

La Emme Nikita's picture
Class Facilitator
La Emme Nikita from Minneapolis is reading The Drowning Girl August 6, 2012 - 5:22pm

Ah, the King of Prussia Mall. I'm 2 miles away from it's cousin, Mall of America. If only there were a sinkhole here. 

I can see what you mean about the name of the town, and some of the pieces have been too explicit about the name of the town where the action is happening. Your dodginess on the issue reminded me of The Simpsons and how they're always dancing around its exact location.

 
cdregan's picture
cdregan from outside of Philadelphia is reading The Corrections August 20, 2012 - 7:14pm

HA! New underground spider species discovered in Oregon!!

I totally called it.

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-08/look-terrifying-goldenrod-...