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Witness

Short Story Ambage Challenge #2

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4 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Aug 06 2012 - 10:46 AM

Witness

Her foot slipped and skid against the concrete as she shifted back against the wall, grinding up dirt and mud against her soles. She sat quietly next to the dumpster, placing her hands over her mouth to stop any instinctive sounds she’d let out. She breathed in through her nose, in and out, over and over again trying to keep calm as she rocked in place.Her eyes were closed shut, tightly, trying to collapse the vision that she had just seen.The rain poured down around her, the clothing she wore was soaked and her pants were dirt ridden. Rain fell on this gray night, the dark clouds illuminated by the city’s lights. Lampposts lit the street beyond her, but the alley covered her in shadow.Slowly dropping her hands to reside limp on the ground, the smell of the garbage beside her was finally recognized by her senses. But she ignored it. It didn’t mean anything to her. She just tried to breathe. She needed air, time, and silence, regardless of how stale and musky the oxygen seemed to be.After the longest minute of her life, she moved her eyes around the corner of the brick building, slowly sliding her sight of the street into view which was hindered by her current position in the alley.With her back pressed to the wall, to make herself as invisible as possible, she took in what was before her.The man was standing above another. The one on the ground was on his back, rain pouring down on his clothes and face, as though he was in tears. His chest was a mixture of blood and mud and water. He was as dead as stone, and his expression was hidden from the girl’s sight.And the well-dressed, fully-alive man, the one drowning his lungs in smoke from his cigarette, held the gun at arm’s length.Her eyes widened, and her breathing shook again. She gasped, but she was sure the rain and thunder covered over whatever small whimper had escaped her mouth. The girl’s hand had reflexively grasped her thigh and she started to squeeze, stopping only when she felt the pain that had reached its way through blue jeans. That pain reminded her that everything was real. The gunshot she had heard wasn’t thunder. The flash that emitted after the trigger was pulled wasn’t lighting.The man retrieved the cigarette from his mouth, pausing to gently exhale all the smoke from his lungs, before he flicked it on to the corpse. In his large trench coat, he turned and his eyes scanned toward the alley way's direction.She immediately pulled back and held her breath.Rain pelted the buildings’ walls and concrete paths, against the dumpster like drums, and she felt like a prisoner. Unable to muster the courage to move, the girl heard every splash, every foot fall as the man drew closer.It seemed like any moment he’d shoot her next. And she would swear she felt the bullet strike her, the trigger sound being clicked. She flinched.But he moved on. He was unaware of her. His silhouette was dark and she could make out nothing about his facial features. With smooth steps he left the street, leaving behind the girl.Unknowingly, he had left behind his witness too.And that witness, would be the first part of a series of clues that would lead to his downfall and arrest for first degree murder. Her life would be forever changed by the event, and though she brought a criminal to chains, to this day she would never choose to relive those moments again. No one could fully know what it meant to stay silent and alone, and leave her place to face reality. To keep watch on that cold body from a distance, stare at that hidden face for the longest time and come to a conclusion: she did have the option to walk away. She didn't really know anything about it, and she didn't have to get involved.The girl hesitated.She couldn’t remember what raced through her mind after that, if anything had. She only knew she was scared. Fear kept her numb.Still… there were other emotions that kept her feeling intensely.It took a little time, but she eventually slumped herself out onto the street to get a second look.____To be honest I'm surprised that the story was this short, but for the Ambage Challenge #2 (my word if it's not obvious, being "Witness") this was the idea I had, and I just didn't feel the need to add anything more. It's not much, but I really enjoyed this story and wanted it as a separate topic instead of just in the SS Collection Topic I have. Hopefully you enjoyed it and thanks for reading! =D

Edited by Quote (Mr. Traveler), Oct 27 2012 - 09:45 AM.

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#2 Offline -Bionicleman-

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Posted Aug 09 2012 - 11:23 PM

A nicely described scene, you did a good job conveying her emotions and giving the brief scene some good sensory information. There were a few awkward phrases, and perhaps a bit too much passive voice, but other than that you wrote it well.
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#3 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Sep 12 2012 - 11:20 AM

Oh man, I forgot to respond to this. >>Thanks a lot Bman and I'm glad you liked it overall!
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#4 Offline Velox

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Posted Oct 06 2012 - 09:26 AM

Official SSCC Review brought to you from a hotel at BrickCon!Definitely the main thing that stands out with this for me was the description. The imagery was very clear throughout, and it never slowed down the story nor did I ever feel like there needed to be more. I've always enjoyed your writing style, and this is no exception. The diction and syntax were really well-done -- you're definitely a strong writer. The character was enjoyable to read about too. I would've liked perhaps to have had a little more of her thoughts, but I don't think it was necessarily completely necessary.Going off of that, this story kept my interest throughout and remained suspenseful, even though I was distracted every 10 seconds or so by my five roommates haha. Which is really saying something -- it's hard to keep a story suspenseful throughout the whole story, much more so to keep it suspenseful to someone who is extremely distracted. Very well done on that. There's nothing really wrong with this plot-wise or whatnot, but there are just a few things I want to point out that weren't really wrong, per se, but slowed down the pacing of this story slightly:

Her foot slipped and skid against the concrete as she shifted back against the wall, grinding up dirt and mud against the soles.

I'd change it to "her soles" -- "the" just sounds off to me.

Lampposts lit the street beyond her, but the alley she was situated in, was covered with shadow.

This just gets a little too wordy, I think -- you could easily just leave it at "...but the alley was covered with shadow." instead of adding those extra few words.

Slowly dropping her hands to reside limp on the ground, the smell of the garbage beside her was finally acknowledged by her senses.

I have mixed feelings about this. My first is that I thought it was interesting how you some-what personified her senses (as if they were a person, acknowledging something), but my second was just that acknowledged sounded awkward. Both caused me to slow down reading. Then again, I'm not exactly sure what would be better to replace it with. =/ Probably because I'm so distracted, unfortunately.

After the longest minute of her life, she slowly, oh so slowly, moved her head.

"oh so slowly", while would be totally fine depending on how the story was written, just didn't fit all that well here I think -- overall while the story isn't necessary "formal" it is definitely more "formal" than I think "oh so slowly" is. Whereas if you had kept up this type of writing style throughout it'd be fine, but I felt like as this was the only phrase like it, it was a little out of place.

And the well dressed, fully alive man, the one drowning his lungs in smoke from his cigarette, held the gun at arm’s length.

Okay, so one grammar nitpick: "well dressed" and "fully alive" should both have hyphens, I believe.

The man retrieved the cigarette from his mouth, pausing to gently exhaling all the smoke from his lungs, before he flicked it on to the corpse.

"exhaling" should be "exhale"

Rain pelted the buildings’ walls and concrete path, against the dumpster like drums, and she felt like a prisoner by it.

"path" should be "paths", but the main thing here is just the "by it". I think you could just leave it out completely, and not replace it with anything, as "...and she felt like a prisoner" is strong enough on its own. =]

She flinched at the image.

"at the image" sounded kinda awkward. Really, just "she flinched" would be better -- quicker, more immediate, more fitting to the situation at hand. --------------All in all, those were just minor things and this was definitely a very well-written and enjoyable story. You're a very strong writer, Grant -- keep writing! I look forward to reading more of your work. Posted Image

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"As a writer you ask yourself to dream while awake." ~ Aimee Bender


#5 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Oct 27 2012 - 09:40 AM

I agree, I should have added more to her personal thoughts. Looking over the story, there isn't much to go on what she's thinking... Still, thanks a ton for the review and I'm really glad you enjoyed it! Totally my first thriller/suspense story so I'm glad I got that right. =DI'll look over those grammar mistakes. You're also extremely tactful with your corrections. Thanks for that, cause not many people can kindly point them out. =/ Thank you again for the review Velox!

Edited by Quote (Mr. Traveler), Oct 27 2012 - 09:47 AM.

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