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short story urban cupcake

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#1 Offline Ezorov

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Posted Oct 31 2012 - 03:15 PM

Moonlight cascades down towering buildings, shadows soaking up everything else its soft blue hands couldn't touch. The glittering stars are chased away by bright, colourful city lights. The purr of traffic can be heard from any dark corner in the city as well as the chatter and occasional laughter of people. Pretty people, with their pretty faces and pretty lives; all shattered in a moment.A twisted grin spreads across my face, my pearly white teeth glowing in the dark. I slide my fingers along a shiny, long blade."You get to make a friend tonight," I whisper to my knife.I always preferred a blade. The way it slid into the body. The way you got so close to your victim, see the fear and pain in their eyes before they crumbled to the cold urban floor, dead.I also found enjoyment in hearing their pathetic pleads. Sometimes I would even lead them on--making them think all I wanted from them were trivial things like money--before slitting their delicate necks.

 

 

=[]=

A bang had sounded from the gun, making my ears throb. Tears sprung to my eyes as my mother crumpled to the ground."Mom!" I screamed, throwing myself at her twitching body. In a matter of seconds her movement stilled completely. I glared at the figure above me, unable to speak as hot tears streamed down my face.

 

=[]=

I sit in the dirty darkness, shining my blade and waiting for the perfect victim to come along. I was no careless murderer, butchering whoever crossed my path next--no, picking out my prey took just as much execution and thought as killing them did.I perk up as I see her walk by. That's the one. A sweet little thing, not much older than twenty. Though people crowd the streets, she looks afraid to be walking by herself. I can't blame her."We should accompany the poor thing, don't you think?" My voice as evil as the fiery abyss I came from.

 

=[]=

I saw a vague smile creep onto his face before he turned around and began walking away.I screamed at him to stop."Aren't you going to kill me, too?" I asked, my voice hoarse. He didn't even slow his tread as he replied. "What makes you so special?"

 

=[]=

I slither back into the roar of the city as easily as I left it, blending in immediately and keeping a secure eye on my little auburn target.I follow her at a moderate distance, waiting for her to make a turn onto a quieter section of town--a turn that will end her existence.Now honey, you should know that dark things happen in dark places like that, I say to myself as she finally veers off.I quicken my pace, reflexively sliding past people to catch up with her.When I'm certain no one else is around, I approach her, silently and expertly. She doesn't even have time to react before she's in my possession with a knife to her throat.

 

=[]=

His words stopped me in my tracks, leaving me speechless.Right before he was out of earshot, I replied with a shaky voice. "You think killing people is doing them a favour?"He actually turned around that time, and I saw a sickly grin spread across his face. "That's exactly what I think."

 

=[]=

Her hand shakes intensely as she lets her purse slip from her grasp."Take it. Just, please, don't--""Don't kill you?"She nods restrainedly."Don't spoil my fun, baby. That's exactly what I wanted to do," I purr into her ear.I can feel her whole body shake more violently. A whimper escapes her lips."Now, now, let's have fun with this, shall we?""Fun?" Her voice squeaks. "You monster."I laugh. A bit too madly, perhaps."What could possibly drive you to do this?" I can hear tears in her voice."I've had a bitter past. Someone took something very dear to me, and one day I woke up and thought to myself, 'why should I have to suffer this alone?' So, thank you, dear, for carrying part of my burden; you certainly aren't the first, nor will you be the last."She gasped for air before speaking again. "Do you have nothing good from your past to cling to? Is your motive only driven by hate?"I had to wrack my brain to answer her question. I suppose she was right. My life wasn't always this twisted. The memory right before my mother was killed, that was my last truly blissful moment...

 

=[]=

Her eyes twinkled in the warm, glowing light as she lit the blue-striped candle upon my cupcake."Happy birthday, sweetheart," my mom said, placing a kiss on my head.I gave her a slightly annoyed look.She laughed. "A boy--even if he just turned thirteen--is never too old for a kiss from mom," she said, squeezing me in a hug.I couldn't help but smile.The glow and the laughter of the evening rushed by too quickly, and before we knew it, we were on our way home, laughing and talking, unaware of what was lurking behind the next shadow, ready to steal something very valuable from us.

 

=[]=

"You're right. Maybe I could do something good for myself," I say slowly.She nods enthusiastically before I drive my knife into her gut. I give the blade a good, firm twist before letting her corpse tumble to the welcoming ground."To think that I would actually let you go." I stoop, crouching down beside her body and stroked her pretty russet hair. I move so my mouth is next to her dead ear, whispering with a cold breath. "What makes you so special?"I muse to myself as I walk away from my gory art, my footsteps echoing off the desolate street."Though a cupcake does sound nice."


Edited by Ezorov, Dec 01 2012 - 11:11 PM.

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#2 Offline Cederak

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Posted Nov 02 2012 - 08:43 PM

I have come to the understanding that CoT has been stereotyped for often being filled with written work that is depressing or full of angst. You avoided that and—like your narrator—went straight for the gut with this. The viewpoint of a serial killer is simple to project, while also being incredibly multifaceted. There's a mental complexity to someone so unhinged that they have an aim, a compulsion, it would seem, to target individuals (sometimes in a pattern, which I'll get to more later). Like someone that can feel an eyelash on their cheek or an itch on their arm, a person is hardwired (or rewired in this case) to give themselves to that urge. I see stories go on to make grand statements about the damage people can do in masses, but a single person, through the particular, premeditated efforts of the night, can leave a mark as well.You captured some of the genuine horror/thriller genre in this piece that made it compelling, convincing, and resonant. Though that's not to say I didn't encounter some shortcomings.

"That’s exactly what I think."

Coding error aside, I felt there should've been some italic emphasis on the word "exactly." Personal preference sort of thing, just wanted to mention it.

I had to rack my brain to answer her question.

You were thinking of the word "wrack." Minor slipup.I enjoyed the interpretation of a serial killer that you presented because it felt legitimate and genuine. The story's dialogue was realistic too, but I think there were aspects you could have played upon to improve the main character. As promised, I'll pick up on the formerly mentioned "pattern" idea. It's not uncommon to see killers, in choosing their targets, narrow in on a specific type of person, for one reason or another. With these sorts of stories, the "why" is seldom as compelling as the "how."That said, I enjoyed your main character to an extent. The inner monologue, the actions, the importance of the darkness to put his motives into action - all very solid for me. I think there's a real drawback, a real risk, to shedding light on that kind of character's origin. I get that few survivors of a gun violence incident involving their parents turns out to be Batman-esque, but when you start giving a real background to a character in a short story like this, I think it can be more detrimental that anything else.Most importantly, don't sell yourself short. Your lead character was excellent working on his own merit, his own words, ideas, actions, etc. I used this word earlier, but this is a very multifaceted entity, not some symbol of monsters in the dark, not some symbol of the safety of the light. You gave me a real killer that went out and killed. No remorse, no second thoughts. Just a knife and a casual want for a cupcake. And I liked that. I liked that this wasn't overly thought out to represent an emblem of something else. What I saw was what I got. Well done there. I felt my belief in your killer to falter a bit though as the past came out. We see someone powerless lose someone important and it breaks them. I don't usually consider "origin stories" to strengthen a serial killer-type character and I would have to say it worked against you in this case.All in all, I liked a lot of what you gave me with this story. It was a bold, stark, unforgiving dive into the routine of a murderer and, I think if your lead had been handled a little differently, would've been just perfect for me. But even casting that aside for a moment, this was still, well…cupcake-sweet. :) Nicely done, Ezorov.-Ced

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#3 Offline Kragghle

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Posted Dec 03 2012 - 04:42 PM

:kaukau: [color=#0000ff;]Wow.  What an odd combination, and I really find it quite unique...I was listening to the music for "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" as I was reading this.  A truly different experience.  In hindsight, though, I think it gave just enough of a superficial, busy city feel while at the same time bringing to mind images of a victorious villain that my mind managed to capture just what this story was all about.[/color]

 

[color=#0000ff;]The first thing that stood out to me was the title, of course, which was simple and bold.  One would have expected a motivational story about a Clark Kent archetype who discovers that he has extraordinary, if not necessarily so hyperbolic gifts, or a piece about someone who overcomes and/or comes to accept a disability.  No such thing.  You turn this into something different, some sort of twist on the word.  For people desiring a pleasant surprise (which I by no means search for), I commend you.  The meaning of the title takes on a twisted air.  It's also shoking since the other first impression I got from this story was the first couple of sentences in Cederak's review, which led me to believe that this would be very different.[/color]

 

[color=#0000ff;]You know, I have to be honest, I really like this.  The subject is grim, but you don't overplay it.  Let's face it: violence in and of itself is grim enough.  You don't need an even grimmer expostulation to back it up.  This reminds me of some of the more entertaining short stories about violence and action that I have read online, with just the right pacing and an emphasis on action leading from one even to the next.  Action, action, action!  With no time wasted on petty things such as grim descriptions when they aren't necessary.  Let's face the truth: this is a piece about a guy who stabs a woman out of a looming hatred over the loss of his mother.  Why turn it into something else.  The end result of a piece of literature that I would actually aspire to mirror, if I could stomach it to find that style in me.  This sort of stuff is actually very hard to write.  Imagine my surprise when I also found out that this was only 977 words long, and I felt like it was closer to 1,500.  To think, I get less done in 1,000 words when I'm trying to condense a much larger story.  This is exactly how such a story should feel.  You have every right to be proud.[/color]

 

[color=#0000ff;]As it happens, there are moments of description, but I won't criticize them.  The beginning was atmospheric in this very simple way.  It created just the right image in that it made some brief statements, stuck with them, and it didn't attribute mood to the imagery.  The imagery did that for itself.  Also, it was mesmerizing in the sense that it sounded so familiar, even though I don't live in the city.  It sounded like someone recalling what life was like for them, especially from certain story excerpts that I recall reading while taking standardized tests during the Reading Comprehension sections, and there was something mesmerizing about those as well, something that you manage to reflect.  Then, of course, you switch straight to the day in the life of the character, setting up the character's necessary personality traits with a knife and a flashback just right.  What's more, the flashback is only three paragraphs long.  Way to go.[/color]

 

[color=#0000ff;]Likewise, you also describe the appearance of the person he's stalking.  I'm familiar with this technique from other forms of literature.  It sets up a creepy air when you know the person's paying attention to what someone looks like.  When I can imagine that, it's easier to imagine their helplessness, especially when there's a slight note in the narrative of what sort of pretty a girl possesses.  So she's given just enough face for me to have some twisted thoughts on the situation and the stalking as I read it, and in a disturbing sense I can also feel the narrator's pleasure.[/color]

 

[color=#0000ff;]Then, as for the ending...Well, this is something I have to be in the mood for.  This might sound odd coming from a Superman fan, but every once and a while I find it a guilty pleasure to read short stories about a villain who gets away with murder (in which case I'm using a figure of speech, but it certainly does apply itself in a literal sense here) and cruel, twisted deeds, and to explore how cruel and how twisted those deeds can be.  Perhaps it's a way of venting.  Perhaps it's my inner beast.  But this is a safe way of expressing that.  It's better than actual violence or robbery or other such crimes, and it certainly doesn't desensitize people to it in the same way that video games and movies do, and it's definitely better than something such as Batman, which is actually even more twisted when you think about it and yet gets a lot of glory.[/color]

 

[color=#0000ff;]Overall, as Cederak said, for such a grim story, you actually made this light, compared to what it could have been.  That is to say, it isn't about depression.  It isn't about misery.  It doesn't take a depressing story that was meant to be depressing and give it a last-minute "uplifting ending" (I'm not against those, by the way, but sometimes they do feel forced).  Here, you just went with the most natural story possible.  The only twist, really, was that I thought it would end on a pseudo-inspirational note due to the title.  You caught me off-guard there.  t really was nothing but a cutthroat noir piece.  That can hardly be my favorite genre, especially since perhaps my favorite SS on CoT right now might just be Aderia/Eponine's River, Oh River, Flow Gently For Me, but I give you high marks for style and ability to captivate and entertain, and I recommend this to my dear friend Nuile.[/color]

 

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#4 Offline Ezorov

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Posted Dec 10 2012 - 02:57 PM

[color=#000080;][font="verdana;"]I felt there should've been some italic emphasis on the word "exactly." Personal preference sort of thing, just wanted to mention it.[/color][/font]

[color=#a52a2a;]Honestly, if I can pull off not having to use them, I try not to. But seeing as you pointed it out, it's a good indicator that it needed the extra emphasis. Thanks for the suggestion![/color] 

[color=#0000ff;]The end result of a piece of literature that I would actually aspire to mirror, if I could stomach it to find that style in me.  This sort of stuff is actually very hard to write.[/color]

[color=#a52a2a;]It's actually funny that you should say that, because while I don't know if I would be successful in pulling of this genre every time, it's actually one that comes easiest and is the most enjoyable for me to write, however horrid that sounds. xDBut gosh, to Cederak and Valjean, I can't even say enough to express my thanks--especially in light of how in depth and fantastic these reviews are--but I hope you can still grasp the weight of my simple "thank you."Like,augh, I cannot get over how awesome these are. These are the kind of reviews that really inspire me to keep writing, and I'm so glad when people can enjoy them as much as you two have.So one more time, I really wish I could say more, because I feel that this is hardly adequate, but thank you two, so, so much! ^^[/color]


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#5 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted Dec 24 2012 - 02:59 PM

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]A little elf told me somebody wanted a review for Christmas. This time of year, we at the SSCC try to help Saint Nick out as much as we can. So here's your review, fresh out of the workshop. Merry Christmas![/color]

 

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);] [/color]

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]I think somebody was watching Batman recently. Maybe it was me. Whatever the case, this has a strong similarity in vibe. I can easily imagine this as Bruce Wayne, gone the way of Joker instead of donning the mantle of Batman.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]It's dark, grimly realistic, and violent. These aren't things that are necessarily to my taste, but you made up for them and made me enjoy this story in three ways: first of all your style was pleasant; secondly, it wasn't graphically sanguinary; third, it was deep. That last is much to my tastes. I enjoy delving into the recesses of the mind, whether the mind or the recess in question be dark or light.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]As I say, great story, well-spun, well-told. My only complaint is when the antihero starts relating his life's story to his victim. The first sentence feels unnatural. It was too rational for this moment. The rest of his response was fine and made perfect sense in the situation. Deranged banter fit perfectly. But it was the woman's next question--"Do you have nothing good from your past to cling to? Is your motive only driven by hate?"--that felt wrong, very wrong, entirely wrong. She should be terrified, not trying to psychoanalyze the man who's about to kill her. Similarly, though to a lesser extent, "What could possibly drive you to do this?" I would have asked, "Why are you doing this?" or something of that kind.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Now let's turn to style. I'm not a fan of terseness or concision, but that's the right way to go for this sort of story. Short, fast sentences are best for suspense. I'm a lover of detail and beauty of prose, but when it comes to suspense you just want the vital facts. That said, the description at the beginning was beautiful.Normally I don't like present tense, for various reasons. In this case, however, I can forgive it, and even commend it for the way it streamlines the transitions to and from the flashbacks. Flashbacks are difficult and can be confusing. Perhaps you opted for the easy way out, but it had an effect nothing else could have produced.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]I have to say it. Grammar time![/color]

 

 

[color=rgb(0,0,0);]A twisted grin spreads across my face, my pearly white teeth glowing in the dark. I slide my fingers along a shiny, long blade.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]I'm flying low here, but that felt backwards. I would have put long before shiny.[/color] 

[color=rgb(0,0,0);]I also found enjoyment in hearing their pathetic pleads.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Pleas.[/color] 

[color=rgb(0,0,0);]"We should accompany the poor thing, don't you think?" My voice as evil as the fiery abyss I came from.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Overall this sentence felt too fragmental. I would either connect it all with an I said and a comma, or add a was to the second sentence.Also, evil's a bland word. Not very descriptive. Maleficent, virulent, mordacious; these are powerful, vivid adjectives that might better suit your purpose hero. The power of writing is in your word choices, so make them judiciously.[/color] 

 

[color=rgb(0,0,0);]"A boy--even if he just turned thirteen--is never too old for a kiss from mom," she said, squeezing me in a hug.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]If that's a noun, it should be preceded by a; if it's a pronoun, it should be capitalized. A mom or Mom.[/color] 

 

"To think that I would actually let you go." I stoop, crouching down beside her body and stroked her pretty russet hair.

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Ineluctably, the past tense creeps in.This is what I don't like about present tense. The past tense is so conventional in literature that both reader and writer naturally want to change present tense to past tense, past tense to past perfect, et cetera. It's a difficult task for the writer and a grating experience for the reader. I will confess there are those who like present tense--and I will also confess there are those who like Twilight. It's my opinion that there's simply no accounting for some tastes.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Overall, you have earned my approval with this fine piece of work here. Thank you for choosing the SSCC![/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Keep writing,[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu: [/color]


Edited by Nuile: The Wiseguy, Dec 24 2012 - 03:04 PM.

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