A boy of around 15 stepped into the shelter of a cove, hoping to get away from the pounding rain. His dark hair, along with all of his clothes, was completely soaked. His foot steps echoed throughout the cove. He could hear drips of water somewhere and smell the scent of sulfuric acid. He heard a soft rustling and a big swoosh of air. In a puff of smoke a man appeared. The man was tall and had unfathomable black eyes, including his irises. He wore a black business suit and leather gloves. His presence demanded both respect and fear. Peter, unsure what to think, backed up against one of the cold stone walls.
A slither of a smile slid onto the man’s face as he simultaneously took a step forward. “Do not fear me Peter, not yet anyways,” snarled the man, “if you were to look anywhere on earth, you would not find a more mischievous man as I. Remember this as I am about to make you the offer of your young life.” Peter wasn’t sure what to think. Should I trust this man? How did he know my name? Where did he come from? Peter’s thoughts swirled around inside him, confusing him even more.
“Peter, I know more about you than you know about yourself. I know for one thing that your mother has cancer, and for another that you would do anything to help her,” then the man took his gloved hand and reached far behind his back, as if attempting to touch the moon. Then with a quick twist of his wrist he pulled his hand back in front of him. In his hand rested a small vile. “To a passerby this would be just a simple vile, filled with nothing but a bit of liquid. You have heard the legends Peter, you know its significance! The power of just a drop of this liquid could cure your mother. Yes! This, Peter, is the Water of Health.” Now, he knew that he was under the sinister man’s spell. His only will was to possess that Water. He loved his mother, and as the man had said, he would do anything to help her.
“Peter, you’re an intelligent boy, you know that all things come at a price. I don’t ask anything ordinary from you. I want to make a fair deal. But first I want to hear from you, are you willing to pay the price? Are you interested in what I am to offer?” at this, the man’s face became serious, giving Peter a firm gaze. Peter stepped up to the man, trying to look brave, and said in a wobbly voice “I am interested, but what is it that you want from me?” At this the man looked at Peter for a few seconds then shrugged a bit and gave a sigh. “Your wish is my command. Peter you have three obstacles, each harder than the one before. In three moon’s time you must successfully complete all three before the moon sets on the third night. If you do not complete all three, your soul is to pay. You will belong to me.”
For some reason, Peter wasn’t surprised. He simply smiled and said, “I am ready, where do I begin?” With a snap of a finger, the dark man produced a small contract upon a table, accompanied by a feather pen. “You begin where most deals do, sign here.” The man pointed to the contract with a long gloved finger. Peter wavered a bit but had made his mind up about this long ago, when his mother was first tested for the signs of cancer. What ever the cost, he would do what he could to help her. Besides, how hard could three tasks be? Peter approached the table and lifted the pen into his hand, playing with the feather a bit. No regrets, he told himself. With that his soul was in the hands of the man in black.
The black man placed his hand above the contract, muttering some form of incantation. The contract furled into a tight roll, and vanished in a flash of light. Then the man did something he didn’t often do, he gave a warning. “There are many things out there, don’t forget that. It will be hard to tell task from obstacle, but remember there are three tasks, no more, no less. You will know how much time is left by this,” he handed Peter a small hour glass, the sand already falling. With a wry smile, the mysterious man in black vanished. Peter noticed a trapdoor below his feet that he hadn’t noticed before. He reached down and pulled at the round metal ring. It was a heavy door. But, after some tugging, he got it open. Light poured from the opening, illuminating Peter’s face. Here I go, he thought, and he stepped onto the Endless Staircase.
| For being an inexperienced writer, this story was pretty decent and it kept my attention enough to read through the whole thing which a lot of stories on this site don't.|
Needs a few edits.
Peter seems a little too accepting of this whole magic thing. Is this a magical world? Has he seen magic before? Give us a better idea of the setting.
"The man was tall and had unfathomable black eyes, including his irises"
Take out, "including his irises."
Sulfuric acid, was fine. I disagree with jaycee.
Anyway, I liked your lead-in at the end of this chapter to the Endless Staircase. Now I will read the second part to find out what that is. You had a lot of good imagery in there, especially in the first paragraph or two. This is a nice fairy-tale story. It's got the whole omnipotent antagonist and dedicated protagonist complex. If you're going for that, great! If not (and I'm one of those people who is all about character development in my prose) then you could focus on developing personalities a bit more so that they are not so 2D. If you'd like to see an example of amazing fantasy with awesome character development as well i highly highly highly reccomend Kushiel's Dart and the rest in the trilogy. They will knock your socks off! (If anyone uses that term anymore.)
|| Posted on 2005-10-21 00:00:00 | by Astarael | [ Reply to This ] || Hey, I am reading this and thinking man this is good. You have a way with words that inspire one to read on. The story line is intriguing and your use of conversation is extremely well done. I am looking forward to the next chapter.|
|| Posted on 2005-03-13 00:00:00 | by Crackwalker | [ Reply to This ] || Okay I generally write suggestions as I read through the piece and things that come to mind, so bear with me if they seem a bit disjointed. They should follow your story order.|
The first thing I noticed is that you didn't name the boy until the man appeared. It feels like you waited until you had to give him a name to do so. I'd introduce his name earlier.
Also the line about sulfuric acid stands out perhaps because it's a bit stark. My first thought was, okay what does sulfuric acid smell like...then the "oh yah that's right" bt that takes too much attention away from your story. Try using fetid or rotten befor the word "smell".
"and reached far behind his back, as if attempting to touch the moon." This is an awkward line. How do you reach for the moon behind your back? Most people reach up and out in front of themselves.
I would like to "see" Peter's reaction to the vial, not just be told about it. This will help give your character demension.
"If you do not complete all three, your soul is to pay. You will belong to me" The verb "pay" is a bit vague here. try forfeit or something stronger in this description...be specific.
Your ending is strong and you leave your reader ready for the next part. most of the edit comments for this piece are minor. Although the theme is not strictly original, I look forward to seeing where Peter's journey takes us.
|| Posted on 2005-03-15 00:00:00 | by jaycee | [ Reply to This ] |