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Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture


By Jack Campbell Jr. in Scare Us

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A town demolition project disturbs a secret creature who wants a piece of everyone.


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 - 7:55pm

Great story! I loved all the details-- the hex bolts! The Bass Pro Shop polo! But what I loved most of all was that narrative voice, the profane, obnoxious school bully who gets what he deserves, yet he's so funny that we love him in spite of himself and in spite of hating ourselves for loving him. The poor guy saves the town, but everyone blames him. He's such a deeply realized character, too. Without having to tell us, you make us understand how he grew up, what his father must have been like, all his piggy attitudes. He's great. One tiny detail didn't ring true for me. Most community college students aren't rich. ( but maybe in comparison to this guy, they are? Or maybe they're rich fuck-ups who ended up at community college?) Anyhow, that's such a minor point I feel bad bringing it up. There are a few weird verb tenses, but mostly, largely, this is just delightful.

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer July 9, 2012 - 5:17am

Thanks. The community college part is actually true. They aren't rich, just rich comared to my hometown. That exact situation actually happened recently. They came through on their pub crawl, and all the bar owner did was bitch because his bar was too loud. The idea of community college kids being called snobs was odd and hilarious to me. But, it might be one of those things that only such a small portion of people will believe actually happens, so I will decide on its fate later. I'll check out the verb tenses. Thank you for the feedback.

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 - 5:38am

Gotcha, and I'll bet just a few more words from that narrator would establish this. That's actually a really fun phenomenon.

Max Crozier's picture
Max Crozier from Palm Springs is reading Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice July 10, 2012 - 10:07am

I really liked the story. I think you captured a true-to-life sound in the narrators voice which i thoroughly enjoyed. You have an eye for detail that brought the story to life for me without making it too much to information and taking you out of the story.

Your creature was pretty good. I like the idea of the patchwork.

One last thing, I enjoyed your narrator as i said but i think the one thing I would like would be to care for the other characters more. Jason was next in line for me. I was sort of rooting for him to get with the oblivious Tina (which i knew wouldn't happen but it's nice to go for the underdog).  But as far as your other characters; when Tina dies and Hank (whom has no personality) i really don't feel it.

Again, i think the work is great. Good job!

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres July 9, 2012 - 1:35pm

This is a great story.  I actually grew up in Iowa, in a town that sounds very much like yours, so I can completely envision each one of your main characters as well as the setting of the story.  And having experienced it with my uncles, I completely understand what you were talking about with the bar owner being pissed about the college kids.

I really do like the monster too.  There is absolutely no explanation of where it came from or why it is what it is, but you know what?  In this case, I love that.  Sometimes in horror, you need a backstory to explain why the monster is, and sometimes it's way better to just stay scared and surprised and have no idea why, but let the horror do it's thing.  Which I think you did very well here.

There are a handful of spelling mistakes or slight grammar issues, but they are very minor when it comes to the work as a whole.  Great job!

EdVaughn's picture
EdVaughn from Louisville, Ky is reading a whole bunch of different stuff July 11, 2012 - 6:41pm

Hey Jack. That's one f'd up monster, man. Very cool. I like how your protagonist wasn't some typical hero-type. He was definitely an asshole. The only crit I have for you is there were a few typos here and there. Then there was this sentence that was kind of awkward: Jason lowered the light from the man's face Tina slowly crept up on the man. All one sentence like that. i assume it is just a puntuation thing. Otherwise great story. Thumbs up.

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer July 12, 2012 - 1:00pm

Thanks to everyone for the feedback. I'll make sure to fix the typos before I send it out anywhere.

Werus's picture
Werus from Portland, OR is reading Secret Acension July 12, 2012 - 4:47pm

I liked the details, and the narrative voice, but there wasn't really much suspense. Things seemed to just happen one after another without a lot of build up. Unique monster though.

Emma C's picture
Class Facilitator
Emma C from Los Angeles is reading Black Spire by Delilah Dawson August 2, 2012 - 9:30am

You do a great job describing a small town in Iowa. I found the narrator painfully obnoxious, which I assume was intentional, but he was abrasive enough I didn't want to keep reading (but I did). 

Your creature was a nice choice, and easy to visualize.

Something bugged me about this paragraph:

A naked man cowered in the corner. Quilt-like scars etched translucently pale skin. A tiny bald head set on top of massive shoulders. The man glanced up at the light with pales eyes, but immediately turned away in pain.

Transluscently pale is redundant, and you use pale again to describe the eyes. It's our first glimpse of the creature, make the description a tad more vivid. I like the patchwork aspect, and I'm picturing Gollum when I read it.

Bill Soldan's picture
Bill Soldan from Youngstown, OH is reading Clive Barker's Books of Blood August 7, 2012 - 12:35pm

I also think your monster was very inventive.  I'd have liked a little more detail in that area and maybe a little more build up.  Besides that, just polish up a few grammar issues and you have a solid story here. 

What's funny is that my story is also about a creature that is awakened by destruction/construction and the first piece of fiction I ever wrote was entitled "Patchwork" (but completely different concept and storyline than this one, though).  These were the two things--the description and the coincidence of the title--that caught my attention and made me have to read this.

I also like the voice of the narrator.  I tend to connect to the cynnical, abrasive types, and I think you gave us that without overdoing it.

And to reiterate what someone else said, Tina and Hank could be rounded out a little more, just so we actually care when they are torn apart (great details in the death scenes, by the way).

Great work man.  Maybe someday I'll have the opportunity to share my different story of the same title with you!


Sancho LeStache's picture
Sancho LeStache from El Paso is reading Hunger August 8, 2012 - 5:11pm

Really fun POV and awesome monster. Sort of a Jeepers Creepers/Frankenstein thing you've got going on there. I liked it, thumbs up for sure!