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Xeogaming Forums - Story Realm - COMPETITION ENTRY: Flower Meadows | |
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Cairoi
This isn't about you and your loud mouth,
This is about me and my fucking beard.








Since: 08-29-04
From: PA

Since last post: 4122 days
Last activity: 3746 days
Posted on 04-30-08 11:14 PM Link | Quote
OOC: Best I could do on short notice. Don't be too harsh. :/



On April 12th, it finally happened. Jacobs & Coffman's merged with Old Jackson's. It was the best news Hal had ever heard. Everyone else was sad that Old Jackson had closed down the shop, but he hadn't. This was the opportunity of Hal's lifetime.

On April 13th, Hal had left the entire town behind without a trace.

On April 15th, Hal set foot in Georgetown for the first time. He was dressed for success, cleaned and primed. Behind his charismatic glow, one could see the predatory gleam in his eyes. He had caught the sight of his prey, opportunity. Its green blood trickled down, teasing him. Fangs exposed, he was ready to live life his way.

After securing the career of his life, he sat down upon a mossy park bench and cracked open a newspaper. He'd need a place to live, he reasoned. Thankfully, he'd saved a vast sum over the past seven years for just such an occasion.

On April 16th, he stepped into Flower Meadow Condominiums for the first time. There hadn't been an ad for it in the paper, but he'd passed it just yesterday and fallen in love with it. He HAD to live there. He walked up to the cozy office building just next to the gated entrance, a lovely brick house with vines artfully etched upon the eroded bricks.

Just inside, sitting behind a fortress of crisp papers, was a man. The man looked to be in his 50s, very well kept for his age. He had the look of a happy man who took as much joy in being homely as he did caring for the plants in his yards. A content man, set to live his life with a smile on his face.

"Why, hello, young man! Never seen you around before. What can I do you for?" Hal's observation seemed to be on the money. The man's voice seemed to come from him like beams of sunlight.

"Well, actually, if it's at all possible, I would really love to purchase a home here. I know it's short notice, but I'm really enamored by it."

"Hmm..." The old man's face seemed to shift into a state of subdued dislike.

"I'd be willing to pay more than the normal price. This place just kind of...fits the vision of a dream neighborhood for my dream life. Everything's going my way lately, sir. It's all falling into place. This is the final piece."

The old man's face did not change for several seconds, an awkward silence hanging thick in the room. Suddenly, he snapped to life like an engine, jumping up and taking Hal by surprise.

"You remind me of a young me, lad. Come see me tomorrow, I'll find you a home here."
Hal heard a loud click. The click of the last jigsaw piece falling into place.

On April 17th, Hal bought and moved into his condominium. He was busy looking it over, so he didn't really take a look around, but a loud dog had barked for almost an hour at 8 and he almost had a mind to complain. But he didn't.

On April 19th, Hal walked outside to pick up his paper at 5 AM and saw the old man cutting the neighborhood's lawn. Smiling with surprise at the man's good will, he went back inside and felt warm in his heart the rest of the day, even at work. The dog's barking tainted the evening, however.

On April 23rd, Hal tripped on a tricycle as he walked to his car on the morning. One of the neighborhood kids must've left it there. Strange though, he thought as he climbed in the car and started the ignition. He hadn't seen any kids yet.

The days started to flow together. Each day became a routine, like it had before, but each day, something weird would happen. The neighborhood was like a painting. It was...almost too perfect.

On May 3rd, a lovely Sunday, Hal decided to stay in and watch TV. He enjoyed the football games until around seven, when the dog started barking again. He tried to drown it out, but its forcefully loud voice demanded his attention. Angrily, he stormed out the door and headed towards the house down the street.

It was a lovely evening, but the streets were bare, but this was muted to Hal. Hal stepped up to the door and began banging, causing the dog to bark louder. No sounds except the grain of static and the barking of the dog came from inside. Maybe...the owner was in trouble? Hal panicked and slammed the door with his shoulder, bursting it down. He instinctively ran to the sound of the television. He saw a hand on a chair facing the television, away from him.

“Sir? Ma’am?!” He moved forward to see if the person was breathing. They weren’t. They were lifeless.

The man sitting in the chair was a mannequin, made of porcelain. Hal’s heart skipped a beat.

He stood there, locked in confusion and fear, until he saw a shadow in the corner of his eye. Fight or Flight.

Flight.

Fear filling his body like helium, he hovered across the stage as he booked it back home. He didn’t want to know what he’d seen. He just wanted to feel safe again. He leaped over the shrub in his front yard and landed hard, rolling into his door and shutting it. His mind and body desired one thing: The reassuring feeling of his pistol in his hands. He fetched it from the sugar cabinet in the kitchen and loaded it. It had been his father’s.

Readying the gun, he made his way to the hallway and faced the doorway, waiting for someone to come. Seconds felt like hours, pinched slowly through the sadistic hourglass.

Creak. That was the sound of someone behind him. He turned and fired instinctively, his eyes not even focused yet. With a pained grunt, the old man from the front fell to the ground, clutching his freshly red shirt.

Hal didn’t know how to feel. He had taken a sharp intake of breath, and for the life of him, he could not release it. Was the man alive? He waited to move until the old man groaned.

“Holy shit, sir! Are you ok?! I’m so sorry! I thought-”

“It’s ok, lad. You had every reason.”

An awkward silence hung thick in the room. Tears began to well in the old man’s eyes.

“Your suspicions are correct, son. You and I are the only people who live in this neighborhood. Before you came along, it was just me.”

“…Why?”

“My father founded Flower Meadow Condominiums back in the sixties. In those days it was perfect. There was the O’Connell’s, the Williamson’s…It was wonderful. But ever since the murders that happened here in ’86…The place was abandoned. Rather than sell the land, I’ve kept it looking as beautiful as it was when I was a lad.”

Hal kept silent, unsure of what to say. Guilt dug deeper into him than the bullet did the old man.

“I’ve kept this place modernized to keep up this illusion, but it’s all been for nothing Listen, lad. You’re the first person I’ve let live here since the murders. You remind me of myself, back when I was young and limber.”

The old man gasped in pain, and Hal moved in closer, wet eyes blurring his sight.

“This bullet has sealed my fate, son. I’m not long for this world.”

Hal choked on his tears, breaking apart.

“Don’t cry. This is for the best.”

“I’m so sorry, sir. I didn’t mean to, I really didn’t!”

“I know, I know…Listen. You won me over when you said this condominium was your image of a dream world. That filled me with a hope I haven’t felt in many years. Take this land, this beautiful land I’ve spent so many years keeping safe for you, and make something of it. But don’t make my mistake and hog it to yourself. Flower Meadow is a slice of heaven on earth. Share it with others. Fill these streets with the laughter of children, and memories of summer nights. Fill it with a love of life, as I remember so very, very well.”

On May 3rd, Hal watched the owner of Flower Meadow Condominiums pass into his final sleep. He carried the jolly old man down the streets of the community, a sole thought on his mind. He brought him to the namesake of the community, a simple field that was alive with a festival of colors upon the petals of flowers, and buried him.

The next spring, a large picnic was held in the colorful park. Everyone complimented Hal on the lushness of the flowers and how well they came in. Only Hal could see how majestic the flowers had become. They had taken root in the love of the man, and grown brighter and more alive than the rays of the sun itself.
Elara

Divine Mamkute
Dark Elf Goddess
Chaos Imp
Penguins Fan

Ms. Invisable








Since: 08-15-04
From: Ferelden

Since last post: 53 days
Last activity: 53 days
Posted on 05-01-08 05:18 AM Link | Quote
Definitely different I must say. I wish I bit more could have been given on who Hal was and where he came from, but word limit and domain problems can do that. Good visual detail, and nice method of story flow. I did however feel the ending was too clean... no one asked how the man died? What murders? How did the man get behind him?

Creativity: 9/10
Spelling: 10/10
Grammar: 10/10
Character: 7/10
Plot: 9/10
Total: 45/50
Makura









Since: 01-22-05
From: The restaurant at the end of the universe....

Since last post: 5161 days
Last activity: 4426 days
Posted on 05-01-08 09:35 PM Link | Quote
Creativity: 9/10
Spelling:10/10
Grammar:9/10
Character:7/10
Plot:8/10

Not to say that I didn't like this story, I very much enjoyed it, but I felt that it was cut short. I felt like you added too much in some areas and left out too much in others. This is a great idea and should be expanded upon in full detail.

P.S. You're a great writer that's why I'm so critical.
Lord Vulkas Mormonus

Vile
High Xeodent of Xeomerica.








Since: 10-29-04
From: North Carolina, United States. World, Sol System, milky way

Since last post: 1796 days
Last activity: 877 days
Posted on 05-01-08 11:33 PM Link | Quote
Creativity: 9/10

Very creative story, I was expecting vampires, and was pleasantly suprised when I found out it was something different.

Spelling:10/10

Why spelling is on here, I have no idea. I assume you ran this through microsoft word before plublishing, so spelling is perfect.

Grammar: 8/10

A few repetitions here and there, and a bit of bad comma placement. Very good overall, but not yet perfect.

Character: 8/10

A bit underdeveloped, but it's a short story, and your characters did their job, no real need for critisizm, though I'd have liked to know a bit more about his life before the town, but it's not really important in the end.

Plot:7/10

Your plot was mostly good, but sadly it was your weakest area. There were a few plot holes, such as why your main character never got suspicious when he didn't see any other people. It was good, but it could use a bit of touching up.

Overall: 42/50.

A good story, but a bit of editing and touching up probably could have made it great. Also, I'm not sure about your date system, it's unique, and it does the job, but it sort of throws off the flow of your story. I'm not going to alter your rating because of it, but I think it could have been better managed.

Sorry if I seemed a bit more critical than the other reviewers, but I don't think you'll mind the extra bit of advice on how to write it. Definitely better than your entry in the last contest, by the way.
FX

Zombie Marco








Since: 03-24-06

Since last post: 3104 days
Last activity: 2999 days
Posted on 05-02-08 01:35 PM Link | Quote
Creativity: 8/10
Spelling:10/10
Grammar:9/10
Character:7/10
Plot:7/10
Overall: 41/50

Felt like it didn't go anywhere. You spent a lot of time building something up, then just dumped this ending on us that felt a bit halfassed. And you didn't really make it feel like something was strange. If you hadn't said "he felt something was strange" I wouldn't have known at all. Try to show, not tell, although it is difficult. Same thing goes for the "suspicions". The guy goes "your suspicions are correct" and I'm thinking, "Suspicions? What suspicions?"
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