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Ciarán Micheal's picture

The Heartless

By Ciarán Micheal in Scare Us

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When I was younger, walking home at night used to terrify me. Now I'm a grown up and Doctors prescribe pills for my anxiety issue. The walk home and my fragile heart (the physical thing, not the metaphorical one), my two fears throughout my years helped shape this story, set in my hometown of Liverpool, England. Hope you enjoy.


Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from Danville Virginia--now living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Kindred, by Octavia Butler July 30, 2012 - 4:44pm

I liked the characters, I liked the sense of place, and I liked the characters' reactions to the monster(s), which seemed pretty realistic. I'm not sure I would have been as calm as the final two as they watched their friend turn, though. But who knows what you would do in a situation that weird? I do think you're a good writer, and I do find this story interesting, but I always have a problem with a story that ends at that particular moment. The perspective usually seems too detached. I wonder if you could stop the story maybe a beat or two before its present ending? Hope this is helpful; if not, just ignore me!

Pushpaw's picture
Pushpaw from Canada is reading Building Stories by Chris Ware August 1, 2012 - 8:04pm

I liked the beginning, with the three mates roaming around in London, best in this story. In general, I found myself interested enough to continue reading and liked the way you move the action forward (a lot of dialogue).

I have to agree with Jane Wiseman above that I didn't really buy how calm Jase and the girlfriend are. They seem kind of bland about the whole thing.

A couple of minor stylistic things:

The three men ignored the taxi’s and the people, their evening had been cut short by the duty they held to the Sunday league team in the morning.

(this is a comma splice -- for the most part, you probably want to avoid this grammatical error, unless you're doing it on purpose)

A few times I found the word choice a bit off or awkward:

quizzical expressions emblazed on their faces

Images of the creatures ran through his mind as if figments of his imagination.

Overall I liked it, but do think it needs another draft or two.

Thanks for sharing this.

Naomi Mesbur's picture
Naomi Mesbur from Toronto, Ontario, Canada is reading Burn Baby Burn Baby by Kevin T. Craig August 1, 2012 - 9:08pm

  I really like your dialogue, the camaraderie between the "ladz", good stuff. You built suspense well and then seemed to rush through the story after Jase gets home, like you just wanted us to see the exploding body and get to the end fast. Try building the end a little more. If your characters are not going to leave, make sure we know why, otherwise, like everyone said above, we won't believe them. 

Regina Peacecraft's picture
Regina Peacecraft from the Philippines is reading Android Karenina August 7, 2012 - 12:56pm

The dialogue was good and the characters were charming but I'd have to agree with the comments stating that Dani and Jase were a tad too calm in the last parts. The ending was good enough for me, but you spent too long with Dani and Jase just watching the details of Kyle's transformation - and rather calmly at that - that the initial tension brought by Dani's revelation of victims becoming like the monsters, is lost. The ending might have had more impact if the tension was sustained. 

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres August 12, 2012 - 1:27pm

I'm pretty much going to be echoing the other reviewers here, for the most part.  I think it is a great story up until they get to the apartment as well.  I really like that the horror pretty much came out of nowhere.  We had a hint ("why isn't the street busier?"), but that only set the table for what was coming.  And I like that a lot.  Actually, I really like the monsters.  

When they do get to Jase's place, it seems to lose something.  I feel bad, because I can't necessarily place what it is that gets lost.  I don't have a problem with how they react, because who knows what they might do.  But maybe have them have to leave Kyle outside, just beyond the door, and then the reason they stay is because they are conflicted on if they should leave him or bring him in?  This would eliminate other reviewers worries about why they act the way they do.  

And as far as the end, keep it.  I've said it before, but I love when the horror isn't over just because the story is.  

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 12, 2012 - 5:10pm


I have to agree. Great story but the appartment scene needs a little work. I loved your descriptions of the monster at the begining and i love how it just came out of nowhere.


The transformantion scene was a little awkward. You had a great opportunity to build suspense and horror right after the revalation that dead humans sometimes transform. And while i found witnessing the transformation, descriptive and highly entertaining it didn't seem scary enough. It also didn't bring any new insight, just a more detailed description of a monster you had already done a great job in its original introduction. If you feel like Jase and Dani would react the way you have written it please keep it that way. As an audience member I'd imagine they would be freaking out with more intensity.Just my two-cents. Still think you did a great job and i had alot of fun reading this one.(The early suspense was breathtaking)



MichaelMolle's picture
MichaelMolle January 4, 2021 - 11:51am

If you are writing this on the base of your life then it was a terrible aspect of your life. All the characters were amazing and the scenes and also you can check to get reliable data easily and other factors were very effective for this story. I wish you the best of luck with your next story.