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Darryl Patrick's picture

Lost for Words

By Darryl Patrick in Scare Us

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George returns to his hometown after a long and mysterious absence to discover that his town is not as he remembered it.


Lee Baron's picture
Lee Baron from Accrington is reading Great Expectations July 31, 2012 - 4:31am

I thought you set the tone and atmosphere really well and the monster was certainly unusual.

Lorraine Ashworth's picture
Lorraine Ashworth August 1, 2012 - 12:20pm

Thoroughly enjoyed it - takes a lot of skill to create believable characters in a short story. Congrats.


Saika Bi's picture
Saika Bi August 1, 2012 - 3:25pm

Loved it!! It draws you in as you read it. Liked how it changed from present day to summer 1996. Monster was a bit weird lol. 

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks August 1, 2012 - 3:38pm

This was an interesting premise. I mostly believed in the characters, at least until the end, but a few details bothered me. Early in the story, when the main character convinces his friends to go camping, he reveals that they are 14. Later in the story, though, he thinks about entertaining himself by coloring in his coloring book. This seems to be the action of a much younger child. Later in the story, the past actions are said to have taken place when the narrator is " little." that doesn't sound much like a 14-year-old boy, either. I think you need to decide just how old he was when the frightening events took place. For me, though, the big problem comes at the end. I'd like to know more about how a monster with these particular attributes is connected to the narrator's personality. If we're going to believe in the ending--SPOILER--we will need to be able to understand the monster as in some way an extension of/alter ego of the narrator. Right now, the connection seems pretty arbitrary.

Darryl Patrick's picture
Darryl Patrick from North West England, UK is reading Voices from Chernobyl August 2, 2012 - 12:56am

Thanks everyone for the comments so far.

Jane, thanks for letting me know about your concerns. He was always intended as a 14 year old from my first idea for the story so the issues that you raise suggest a slight failing with my writing: 

SPOILERS - With regards to the colouring book, I did think hard about that when I was going through the editing process, but ultimately I thought that it did fit. The reason I put that in there is because yes he's 14 but he's just been through a very traumatic event and subsequently he's been forced to be cooped up inside by his mum-- it's the school holidays and this is a time when there's no facebook, internet or mobile phones so I was trying to convey that he's literally scouring the house trying to find "any" solitary thing to do to take his mind away from things (out of necessity rather than entertainment) Acting childlike was meant to be his way of coping, taking his mind back to happier and more innocent times. What happened throughout that Summer was meant to have ruined his childhood and the subsequent years hence his adult version of himself exaggerating these past times where he refers back to himself and his friends as 'little boys'

BIGGER SPOILERS - When it came down to the ending and how I handled the 'creature' I didn't want to explain anything because in my experience from my favourite horror stories and movies the moment the monster is fully revealed or scientifically explained is the point where the horror stops and is often when you feel sympathetic towards the monster-- in this story I started from the outset trying to write George as a sympathetic character, so I guess I was inverting the process. By the final sentence I wanted the reader to leave the story thinking of George as the monster, whilst the horse creature was intended as kind of a red-herring and something that only George can see. I drew inspiration from Michael Myers (Halloween) Pennywise (IT) Joker (The Dark Knight) and the thing I like about these characters is that their actions and motivations don't necessarily come with an explanation and because of that they make the viewer/reader uneasy. With this story I wanted to tell it from 'their' perspective to some extent and to do so I felt that it needed some kind of entity/creature guiding his actions otherwise it just wouldn't have worked


Thanks again for your insight, it's certainly helped me understand which parts of the story may not work well. I'd appreciate it if anyone else could spare a moment to offer their opinion, or any issues that they may have had?

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks August 2, 2012 - 5:09am

I should just mention that I don't read/watch much horror, so horror conventions near & dear to the hearts of horror fans may very well be lost on me. I should put that disclaimer on every post I make so that you real horror fans can judiciously ignore me!

Idlesam's picture
Idlesam August 5, 2012 - 10:01am

I really enjoyed the story, contrary to what Jane said and supporting the author; I felt that the unexplained, almost arbitrary nature of the creature as George's alter-ego and 'evil' side added to the horror factor.

I liked the part where during the beasts second apparition to George, he bit his own tongue out. To me this rang of a deep duality in the character, his everyday persona, seeing his dark side, hid Mr Hyde was terrified by it. 

The age of George in the flashbacks does seem a little hit and miss with regards to his actions and I felt that some of the description of the scenes could have used more depth to really help the reader visualise the scene's and understand the horror, particularly with the creature but in a short story that is always a gripe. though but apart from that I loved this and really enjoyed reading it. Really good work Darryl.


sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres August 12, 2012 - 1:56pm

Wow, this is great.  The back and forth from present to 1996 could have killed the momentum, but you did it just right, telling us just enough with each time switch, that it built the suspense all the more.

You set up the horror very well in this story.  I really enjoyed it.  The fact that throughout the whole story, you have us trying to figure out what this demon/monster/devil creature could be, and why it's killing his friends, and then we see at the end what/who the monster really is, fantastic!  I don't want an explanation, some psychological evaluation that tells me why this guy kills those close to him.  Because it's so much scarier without it.  

And I'm going to say, one of my favorite endings off ALL of the stories I've read so far.  Fantastic job, I hope you plan on contributing more stories to our neighborhood.

Darryl Patrick's picture
Darryl Patrick from North West England, UK is reading Voices from Chernobyl August 14, 2012 - 12:20pm

Thanks you very much for your comments, it's great to hear that the story connected with you in such a way. I appreciate you taking the time to let me know.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 12, 2012 - 6:29pm


This is the type of horror that really scares me. Sure monsters are fun and when well written very scarry but unless i can beleive it could happen in real life it's not anything i would lose sleep over. The idea of a human unawaredly killing his loved ones scares the hell out of me. I originally wanted to write a story like that for my first attempt at horror but i felt restricted by the guidelines. But you did a great job with this because your monster was real to your main charachter and that's all that really matters. I I did feel he was a little younger than 14 in some of the flashbacks. If your attempt was to make him digress back to a more innocent age i think you could easily do this by dropping a hint. That's really the only criticism i have. Great story.


Darryl Patrick's picture
Darryl Patrick from North West England, UK is reading Voices from Chernobyl August 14, 2012 - 12:22pm

Thank you for your comments, I'm glad you liked it. From taking onboard other peoples comments the age issue does appear to be a genuine problem with my writing and I'll certainly keep this in mind and learn from that going forward.