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Chris Johnson's picture

Artificial Disasters (Third Draft)

By Chris Johnson in Scare Us

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A girl abandons her blind date for someone she finds more appealing, and the jilted medical student takes revenge.

I'm calling this the third draft because I did a total overhaul, then I stitched together the rewrite and the original because I liked it too much to abandon the ideas expounded in the first draft. Call it compromise. Oh and there are three deaths. Count them. I hope you like my work.

(Edited 7/29)


Emma C's picture
Class Facilitator
Emma C from Los Angeles is reading Black Spire by Delilah Dawson July 28, 2012 - 7:35pm

Great lines (facial hair cut with an IED, face literally lit up, etc) and a style reminiscent of Bret Easton Ellis or Chuck Palahniuk. Because it reminds me of these guys I don't really see it as horror but I'm giving you a thumbs up anyway because I liked it. 

And oh, that poor cat. 

Nitpicky note (I used to be a veterinary technician): sodium thiopental (pentothol) is rarely used any more in vet med and wouldn't be used for euthanasia in any case. Beuthanasia, a pink-tinted barbituate, is the widely used euthanasia solution. In a cat it would be injected into a back leg, not a paw, as it needs to go directly into a vein.  

Chris Johnson's picture
Chris Johnson from Burlington NC is reading The Proud Highway July 28, 2012 - 10:23pm

Thank you so much for your feedback. Nitpicky is what I need for authenticity. Easily the best note I've received on my work yet and I'm changing it now. Thank you.

David Ireland's picture
David Ireland from London is reading Confessions of an English Opium-Eater July 29, 2012 - 5:55am


I enjoyed this. You have a distintive voice, and a good eye for an interesting turn of phrase.

I felt almost dislocated and abstract though the violence, which made it more interesting in my opinion.

You've listed this as a 3rd draft. I think it shows - it feels polished. Good job!


Nathan's picture
Nathan from Louisiana (South of New Orleans) is reading Re-reading The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste, The Bone Weaver's Orchard by Sarah Read July 29, 2012 - 5:22pm

“The way the cutting feels, it’s a furnace and ice, and the ice is cutting you.”

Yeah. This is when it got scary, Chris. Well written, too. Well done.

I’m keeping this simple. Gave you a thumbs up for the story, since it does get scary and that’s the whole point of the competition. 

Creature, though. You need a creature from what I understand. Love the dude freaking out and slicing her up but I wasn’t clear on if anything supernatural was really going on or if he was just a freak. An easy fix either way. Just a quick mention of something out of the ordinary.

Story’s also supposed to take place in your hometown, and this seems like it could take place anywhere. Maybe just some quick mentions of local atmosphere to bring us there. The rest of it is solid.

Good stuff.

Here’s something I caught with the draft—found a backwards quote on this line:
             “Fine.“ He goes back to his phone.

Hope that helps.

I really enjoyed this. 

Ian's picture
Ian from Texas is reading Low Down Death Right Easy by J. David Osborne July 29, 2012 - 8:26pm

This is really good. Your style is intensely visual, e.g., the cat sliding around in its own skin, etc. This is also the only submission I've read that's set in the near-future (unless I whiffed on that) which I very much liked. I almost wrote something in a similar setting but ended up going the other direction. You make excellent use of a number of references throughout your story, and you use them subtly. I particularly liked the Boston.

You also write dialogue incredibly well. What you've done with your monster - once his switch flips - is exceptional. In fact, it's so good that I found myself going over his dialogue over and over again trying to figure out how you did it. It felt like one of those black-out poems but done by a schizophrenic. Fantastic job with that.

I think this is set in a certain nation's capitol. Maybe I have that wrong. 

Really good stuff. I enjoyed it.

Chris Johnson's picture
Chris Johnson from Burlington NC is reading The Proud Highway July 29, 2012 - 11:58pm

College bar I used to frequent about twenty miles from my current pad. And as to his dialogue, I used the cut-up technique pioneered by Burroughs and Gysin. Thank you so much for reading my work.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 2, 2012 - 9:35pm

i'm not sure why but i've always been a huge fan of 2nd person point of veiw when it is well executed. Needless to say i am a fan of this story. As far as the monster is concerned that Nathan brought up, i feel like with your sci-fi futuristic description of the procedure works just fine. THe dialouge was excelent as Ian Mentioned. Loved the line "pink sleep" i read Emma's not if you added that after her quote, you took great advantage of good advice and i think that is what this challenge is all about.

Thanks for sharing this.