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  • EmpyrealInvective
    EmpyrealInvective closed this thread because:
    Story posted: 2412 E Cochran Rd
    01:07, May 1, 2016

    2412 E Cochran Rd---New Revision With Different Endings


    It was April first, a Friday. School had just finished and the spring weather in Curtisville was warm and sunny. Those that weren’t buried in piles of chores and homework were already making plans for a fun-filled weekend.

    At the residence of 2412 E Cochran Rd, eight-year-old Ralphie Briarleigh raced to the bathroom and found, after several frantic twists and turns of the knob, that it seemed to be locked. He paused to peer into the frosted glass window on the upper half of the door.

    Ralphie found it strange that the bathroom would even have a window when most bathrooms nowadays had solid wooden doors. A lot about this stately light gray Dutch-colonial was strange, from its old-fashioned speaking tubes and servants’ bells to the frosted leaves and lilies etched into the accent glass on all the twelve-pane windows, and the way it stood apart from its newer-built neighbors, tucked back in the redwoods at the edge of town.

    It was one of several houses that were built in the early 1900s by noted contractor Harris Mercer, founder of the still-existing Mercer-Fraser general contractor and engineering--for whom Ralphie’s dad was currently working overtime for. Before the arrival of the Briarleighs to Curtisville, the house had been the longtime residence of Margery Cartwright, widowed retiree and gifted amateur artist. It was still in good shape by the time the Briarleighs took up residence. The same, however, could not be said for the overgrown garden crammed full of stuff and the stray cats or even for Cartwright, who was now convalescing at the Sempervirens Psychiatric Health Facility down in Union Town.

    “They had to take her out on a stretcher,” Gerald Boisvert explained a few days after the Briarleighs moved in. “Tried to kill herself by downing a bottle of sleeping pills and slitting her wrists...right after the family tried to do one of those emergency interventions.”

    Gerald was nine and a half, and was one of the 'cool kids' who happened to posses an encyclopedic knowledge of weird local history as well as urban legends.

    “You know why Old Mrs. Cartwright had all those sheds filled with tchotchkes and stray cats hanging out in her yard?”

    Ralphie shook his head. “No, and what’s a tchotchke?”

    “It’s Yiddish for a small piece of worthless crap,” Gerald explained. “Fake fruit, ceramic frogs and cow figurines, anything you buy from a dollar store or a yard sale, stuff that even a burglar wouldn’t steal. Well, anyway, the reason Mrs. Cartwright had a lot of crap in her yard was because she was keeping the vampires at bay.”

    “Vampires?” Ralphie asked, bewildered.

    Gerald nodded. “Yeah, vampires. According to folklore, they’re really obsessed with counting every small thing in sight. Well, what I heard about Mrs. Cartwright was that she was distracting the vampires with sheds full of junk and hundreds of cats running about so they won’t get in her house.”

    “There’s no such thing as vampires,” Ralphie murmured. “Just made-up ones like the Count on Sesame Street or onScooby-Doo.”

    Gerald shrugged. “Ever heard of Vlad the Impaler?” he demanded. “That dude was real.”

    "No," Ralphie shook his head vaguely. His parents were way too protective when it came to scary books and movies. “But we're in America." he pointed out. "We don’t believe in that vampire stuff over here.”

    Gerald frowned and shrugged his shoulders again. “Mrs. Cartwright sure believed in it.”

    “Yeah, well, Mrs. Cartwright was probably just some crazy ole cat lady with a big hoarding problem,” Ralphie insisted. “Like one of those people you see on those creepy reality shows.” He stared at his new friend thoughtfully for a moment, then said quietly, “No such things as vampires...or ghosts. Dad said people don’t come back from the dead like they do in the movies.”

    “They do around here,” Gerald retorted before abruptly changing the subject.

    Despite his initial skepticism of Gerald’s story, Ralphie kept a sharp eye out for any vampire-like activity. Much to his relief, nothing weird happened. All his new friends seemed human and normal enough, indulging in various video games and movies or hanging out in the nearby cul-de-sac or backyard paradise or playground.

    Eventually, after much clearing, tearing down, digging and animal control help, the Briarleighs managed to restore the original English garden look. However, in spite of all their diligent restoration efforts, they still kept finding little tchotchkes, and they weren’t just restricted to the garden area--they were inside the house too, concealed away behind the walls, behind baseboards and under floorboards, even in the hollow spaces of the ceiling beams.

    Everyone thought this was strange except for Ralphie who thought it was all pretty awesome. It was like Christmas and Easter combined; some strange new trinket was always turning up in unexpected places. His sisters thought it was all due to ghostly pranksters or house sprites. His parents, being realists, thought it was just more of Mrs. Cartwright’s collection turning up. Ralphie didn’t find the mysteriously appearing tchotchkes a problem. If there was a problem, it was with the bathrooms in the house.

    There was really only one decent bathroom in the entire house, and that was upstairs. The other, if you even consider it a bathroom, was a claustrophobic closet space next door to the kitchen that just had a toilet and a shower curtain for privacy. Mom was always harping on Dad to remodel it, but he never got around to it. Spiders and house centipedes seemed to congregate in that one area - presumably because they knew Ralphie was absolutely terrified of them and that he couldn’t use the upstairs one on account of his older sister Lisa commandeering it for her personal beauty salon, leg shaving/cosmetic counter and fashion show wardrobe. At least she didn’t do it every day of the week (which was a relief)...or that his middle sibling, fourteen-year-old Marlee wasn’t a fashion-freak and bathroom hog (even better). He still couldn’t figure out how Lisa always managed to pick the exact time when he was heading to the upstairs bathroom, but she had already barricaded herself inside, humming tunelessly as she devoted herself to yet another marathon make-over session of primping and preening in front of the mirror while posing for imaginary photo shots.

    Ralphie wiped his sweating palms on his pants legs and squinted in puzzlement at the dark window. It couldn't have burned out again so soon. Maybe Lisa had it off because she was trying out some weird glitter gel or some hair dye that only glowed in the dark or under black light. Nothing weird about a locked dark bathroom, he told himself sternly. Just Lisa wasting her time as usual messing with her looks. Nothing wrong with that.

    Still he couldn’t help staring at the door. His hands clenched a little as a sudden chill crept up his arm.

    “Stupid,” he muttered to himself. “You’re being stupid, Ralphie. It’s all just your imagination...nothing to be afraid of here.”

    Frowning determinedly, he made himself go over and peer into the window. Pressing his snub nose against the cold glass, he listened with growing concern. Then he went and tried the knob again. Still locked. Shifting his gaze back toward the window, he thought he saw the curtain twitch, but couldn’t be sure.

    Ralphie shivered suddenly, feeling again that cold chill prickling his spine and scalp--like hundreds of invisible bugs crawling all over his skin.

    He tried not to think about what Gerald had told him just a few days earlier--more about Old Mrs. Cartwright’s suicide attempt. When they eventually found her the next day, she was in the upstairs bathroom with an Exacto knife beside her. Strange how there wasn’t much in the way of blood considering the extent of her injuries or that the wounds were more like jagged teeth marks rather knife cuts.

    Geez, Ralphie! He shook his head in disgust. You’re getting nutty as that old lady Cartwright! Gerald just has a wild imagination, even though he knows a lot of stuff. Nothing to be afraid of here...

    Still he stood there, facing the door, rubbing his arms and palms. Where’s this cold coming from? It’s really freezing in here! He looked up and down the deserted hallway, trying to see if a window had been left open. As he was thinking of whether or not to get Mom, a flickering yellow light suddenly came on behind the frosted glass.

    Ralphie started, taking a few steps back. Funny how the lights seemed dimmer than before, more a glow from a lantern or many candles rather than a regular fluorescent bulb.

    Beyond the door he could hear the steady drip-drip-drip of the water and the click-click of high-heeled footsteps walking away. Squinting, he tried to make out a shadowy silhouette, but there was none to be seen.

    “Go away!” an all-too familiar voice suddenly yelled from inside the bathroom. “I’m taking a scented candle sauna bath.”

    Oh, well that explains the weird flickering light.

    “Well, I gotta go!” Ralphie yelled back. “Really bad too!” A slight frown puckered his brow as he wondered why Lisa had decided to put on horribly uncomfortable sandals rather than her usual cozy slippers when she went to turn on the lights.

    “Well, go use the closet one!” Lisa muttered grumpily. “Or if you’re in a real hurry, go use a bucket or the bushes even.”

    “Huh-uh! No way, Lisa!” Ralphie’s pulse raced as he pounded hard on the oak paneling. “The closet one’s got creepy crawling bugs that scare the beejeebers outta of me, and I’m not doing it outside like a bear! You gotta come and unlock the door or get out so I can use the bathroom.”

    “I’m not leaving this tub!” his irate sibling called out. “Not when Auntie Flo’s paying a visit.”

    “What?” Ralphie’s brow furrowed in puzzlement. “We don’t have an Auntie Flo...and what’s all that got to do with you hogging the bathroom?”

    “Go ask Mom,” Lisa muttered drowsily. There was a faint sloshing of water as she settled back in the tub. “She’ll tell you.”

    Ralphie glared at the door through teary eyes. He fidgeted as he worriedly ran his small fingers through his sandy blonde hair.

    “Phew!” he paused, crinkling his nose. “Where’s that smell coming from?”

    Scowling, he sniffed several times before recoiling in terror and total disgust. Complete panic engulfed him as he banged furiously on the door. “Lisa! Are you smoking something really gross?’

    “Am I what?”

    “Smoking something gross?” Ralphie demanded as he cupped his hands over his nose. “Cause it really stinks out here!”

    “What?!” Lisa’s voice rose up defensively. “I’ve never smoked anything in my whole life, not even cigars or E-cigarettes. It’s probably just the candles you’re smelling.”

    “They stink so bad!” Ralphie groaned, trying desperately to cover his nose with the collar of his shirt. “Smells like that dead cat Dad found in one of the old sheds.”

    “Well, there’s definitely something wrong with your nose then,” Lisa replied stiffly. “What I’m smelling is Pineapple Citrus and Coconut Milk Mango. Now beat it before I throw this moldy old loofah at you!”

    “We don’t have a loofah!” Ralphie gritted his teeth as he swallowed back a rush of bile. “Okay, that’s it. I’m gonna to tell Mom on you!”

    He spun around and faced the other upstairs rooms. Before he took off, he thought he heard a faint raspy chuckle, but couldn’t be sure.

    “Moooom!” he yelled as he raced down the hall. “Moooooom!! MOOOOOOOOM!!!”

    He ran into Lisa’s room and straight into Mom as she was turning with the empty laundry basket under her arm.

    “What’s going on?” The tall, willowy woman sputtered in bewilderment. Her freckled face showing panicked dismay.

    “Mom. Lisa’s hogging the bathroom again!”

    Mrs. Briarleigh stared at her youngest child, dumbfounded. “Lisa’s hogging the bathroom again?”

    “Yes, Lisa’s hogging the bathroom again!” Ralphie repeated furiously, flailing his arms around in wild frustration. “And she stinkin’ up the place with her sauna scented candles that smell like roadkill! I gotta go really bad, but she won’t let me in and she’s makin’ me sick. Make her get out so I can go!”

    A few minutes of silence followed as Mrs. Briarleigh continued to stare at him, wide-eyed with mouth slightly agape. Then her gaze slowly shifted to over her shoulder.

    Baffled at her reaction, Ralphie stared back. Then following the direction of her startled look, he saw, standing in the doorway of a walk-in closet, Lisa neatly coordinated in skinny black jeans and a bright pink blazer. Her flaming red hair was tied back with a bright green scrunchie, the exact matching color of her eyes.

    “What are you talking about?” Lisa asked, a deep frown marring her pretty, freckled features. “I was here all along, trying to improve the Feng Shui of my bedroom by re-organizing my entire wardrobe. ”

    Ralphie continued to gape at her, his eyes blinking like a befuddled frog. The ache in his bladder was warring with the rolling acid in his gut, both threatening to explode any minute.

    “And I don’t use scented candles!” Lisa’s indignant tone snapped him out of his shocked daze. “They’re a fire hazard as well as a health risk. Who wants to live in a house stinking like a flower fairy just threw up there...let alone a sun-baked possum casserole. No, thank you!”

    “So that wasn’t you...?” Ralphie blurted out.

    Lisa snorted. “Of course not. How can I be in two places at once?”

    “See, it couldn’t have been Lisa you heard,” Mrs. Briarleigh told Ralphie. “It must have been Marlee playing an April Fools' prank on you.”

    “Marlee doesn’t play pranks,” Ralphie grumbled, “and she doesn’t hog all the hot water or use stinky New Agey candles. It sounded more like Lisa talking.” He shuffled his feet, then added, “And I really got to go.”

    “Well, don’t go on my licorne fleece carpet!” Lisa cried, looking around wildly for a waste basket. “If you keep listening to all those goddamn kids telling you stories about how Curtisville’s like something out of a Stephen King novel, you’re naturally going to keep imagining things like monsters and weird smells and ghostly voices coming out of empty rooms.”

    “Oh, for Kvasir’s sakes!” Mrs. Briarleigh flashed her daughter a look of annoyance. “Will you just listen to him for two minutes!”

    “I didn’t imagine anything!” Ralphie yelled at the top of his voice. “It happened just like I told you. There's something else in the house with us, and its using the bathroom and it smells like something dead and rotten.”

    No one answered the door when Marlee knocked and rang several times. After peering through the windows which offered a clear view of nearly all the living room, Marlee unlocked the door with her house key. She pushed the door open, then, dropping her duffle bag and grimy soccer uniform to the floor, she raced to turn off the alarm. After disarming it, she walked to the kitchen for some Gatorade before clumping up the stairs, heading straight for the bathroom. As she neared the door she froze to a sudden halt with one hand raised to grasp the knob. Eyes wide, she slowly drew her hand back and clenched it tightly at her side. Her skin began to prickle as every hair on the back of her neck and arms shot straight up.

    She stood there, eyes riveted on the window of the bathroom. The muslin curtain was gone and she could see right inside the room itself, only it wasn’t the same spacious bathroom she was familiar with. Stained floorboards had replaced the blue and white tile, and instead of the enclosed porcelain tub, she saw a lead-lined, claw foot monstrosity fastened to the right hand wall, with a moldy wrap around shower curtain. Instead of bright sunlight, a pale moon shown in through the window on the far wall.

    She cringed with revulsion and cold dread at what she saw next.

    Severed, dried human hands with long burning candles screwed into the nails were arrayed around the dismal drab room, casting odd flickering shadows across the lime-coated walls.

    Marlee’s eyes widened even further, her jaw dropping. She heard rustling to the right, and then nearly swallowed her tongue in shock when she saw it--a long fingered, bony hand poking through the shower curtain and drawing it slowly aside. The corpse candles flared brightly for a moment, and then went out, the room immediately turned to darkness. There was no moon now peering through a dimly lit window. The room seemed to swarm with squirming, twitching shadows and she thought she heard faint rustling...like hundreds of rats or roaches crawling all over.

    “M-mom?” a small mouse-like squeak escaped as she nearly fell backwards into a bookshelf. “R-R-alphie? L-L-Lisa?”

    She never expected to see a tall silhouette emerging suddenly from the darkness beyond the glass panel. She never expected to see the tall mound resembling a lumpish pile of large intestines but sickly bluish-gray instead, and rapidly undulating like a mass of worms, or a pale triangular face peering out between the grisly locks with steel-pale eyes fixed piercingly on Marlee’s incredulous gaze, and then a widening crescent of needle-like teeth glinting in the dim light.

    She blinked. The thing was gone as well as the darkness. The muslin curtain was back in place, illuminated by a warm yellow light.

    “Marlee?” Lisa’s voice snapped her out of her shock, reminding her where she was.

    “W-wh-what?” Marlee stammered.

    She could hear the faint sound of splashing of water, and then Lisa’s voice once again drifted out through the sealed door.

    “You okay, Marlee? You sounded like you were having an asthma attack?”

    “Lisa?” Marlee sagged with relief, her breath coming out in a big whoosh. She tried to laugh, but only managed a choking squeak. “Is it really you?”

    “Well, of course it’s me, you silly goose,” Lisa replied breezily. “Who did you think it was? Bigfoot? The Creature from the Black Lagoon? Medusa?”

    Marlee’s mouth dropped open as she stared at the door in baffled confusion. "Did Lisa just mention the Medusa?" she muttered. That’s quite a coincidence; she just mentioned it shortly after I saw something very Medusa-like. And since when did Lisa use really age-old expressions?”

    Shakily, she forced herself to take a few steps toward the door. All the while the logical half of her mind told her sternly she was just being silly and to stop acting like a scared little kid, but the other half urgently told her not to turn the knob or knock, not to take another step closer to the threshold.

    “Uhh...Say, Liz?” said Marlee hesitantly. “Did you happen to notice anything weird just now?”

    “What do you mean ‘anything weird?’” Lisa asked.

    “Well,” Marlee thought carefully before choosing her words. “Like lights going on and off by themselves, unexplained drafts...?”

    “Oh, you mean like poltergeist stuff?”

    “Yes,” Marless looked nervously about the hallway. The quiet was making her uneasy. "Maybe I’m just freaking out over nothing," she said quietly to herself. "Maybe I just imagined it all." I know I got really stressed out during practice, and it was also very hot and I knew I should have drunk enough water, plus I just had a microwave burrito for lunch that was rather gross and sickening. So it was either that or our house really does have a portal to Hell in our bathroom.

    “Well, I did notice the lights flickering when I came in here,” Lisa replied thoughtfully. “But I didn’t think it was anything weird. Just maybe a defective or loose light bulb.”

    Marlee nodded slowly. “Oh, so no blackout then?” Or weird, creepy shadows or monsters appearing and disappearing without explanation?

    “Nope, not a thing,” Lisa replied. “Why? Did you see something? Is it something serious I should know about?”

    Marlee thought for a while. “Not really,” she said finally. “I just thought I saw the bathroom light blink off suddenly, that’s all.” She shrugged nonchalantly as her mind arrived to the conclusion that what she had just witness was actually due to a panic attack caused by stress and dehydration. Lisa will just think you’re weird if you tell her about the horrifying vision you just had. She’ll probably tell all her friends that you’re a spooky, psychic nutcase and she’ll never want to be in the same house with you ever again.

    “Well, I’ll just go wash up in the kitchen then,” said Marlee casually. “Try not to stay in there too long or you’ll end up looking like Grandma.”


    Version #1--Monster Gets Stoned Ending

    Turning away, she expected Lisa to answer back with a sarcastic comeback, but instead her sister gave a tinkly laugh.

    Marlee stopped abruptly in mid-turn and shot a startled look at the door. Did I just hear my normally bitchy sister give a high-pitched giggle?

    Her nose crinkled when she suddenly caught whiff of a pungent odor like burnt resin and singed rope mixed with a combination of skunk, rotten fruit and sweaty arm pit. Oh, she’s smoking a joint. Well, that explains her good humor then. Shrugging dismissively, Marlee turned around and headed toward the stairs. If she gets caught by Mom, it’s not my problem then.


    Version #2--Ambiguous Ending

    She went downstairs to the living room where she retrieved her duffle bag. As she strode toward the kitchen, she stood still for a moment, looking back and listening intently. The silence here was deafening like it was upstairs. But she felt a current of cold air brushing past her elbow accompanied by a faint rancid smell. Marlee frowned as she shook her head impatiently. I got way better things to do with my time than to start imaging stuff from all those late night scary movies I watched on Sci/Fi.

    She could hear the muffled sound of hurrying footsteps upstairs, and then voices raised in a heated argument with her brother’s whinny voice, being the shrillest, adding to the chorus. Hmm, sounded like Ralphie was in desperate need of the bathroom once again.


    Version #3--Omg! Some Innocent Teenager Just Got Eaten Alive Ending (Continuing Where Version #2 Left Off)


    Shrugging, she turned back and then was nearly knocked back by a suffocating wave of stench. Almost like raw meat and ammonia and musk combined. Dropping her duffle bag, Marlee clutched at her throat as she choked and wheezed. Dimly, she became aware that the kitchen door was gone, replaced by an elevator--sized maw with rows upon rows of slab-like teeth--all wet and slimed with gelatinous strands of silvery drool. Here was the source of the fetid wind she had just felt.

    Marlee couldn’t move, scream or get away from the monstrous aberration looming before her. She could only stare up and gape as it uncoiled a dark red tongue the length and width of a small fire hose, snatched her in its sticky, squeezing grasp and swallowed her down like a crumb of bread.

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    • Bumping this.  Should I have a better title?

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    • Starting with the basics, I did notice some formatting/spacing, capitalization, and wording issues that should be fixed.

      Formatting: "“Marlee?” “That you, Lisa?”" Should be spaced out so two speakers aren't on the same line. "I could have asked it what it was ?" (no space needed there) Capitalization: "“I’m not leaving this tub!” His (his) irate sibling called out. "

      Wording: "As (not needed) he was thinking of whether to get Mom when a flickering yellow light suddenly came on behind the frosted glass.", "Dimly she became aware of yet another smell, that of her fear-frozen brother finally loosing (losing) all bladder control.", "the way it stood apart from its never (newer) neighbors, tucked back in the redwoods at the edge of town."

      Story: While there is some good description in the story, you tend to go off a bit too much on tangents that don't really influence the story. Lines like: "Since middle school she had gone through turquoise, aquamarine, jade green and hot neon pink with orange leopard spots, and had to settled for her natural strawberry-blonde when Mom finally put her foot down.", "Maybe one of the tubes was bad or there was a short circuit somewhere or maybe even a grounding problem, Dad would certainly know since he was licensed, qualified electrician, but he was away working overtime at a construction site in Murrelet.", and "Even when the Briarleighs got rid of the remaining outdated furniture and useless antique clutter, they still found little knick-knacks from time to time tucked away behind wall panels, behind dresser drawers, under the floor boards, even in the holes of old stumps." really don't have as much impact on the story and pull away from the story itself. In a longer story, this builds characters and environments, in a shorter story, it feels like random pieces of information that down impact the plot.

      I would also suggest maybe building on the scene when the family realizes there's something in the house to create a bit more suspense. All in all, it feels like you're building up to something that never fully feels realized. I think if you revised this some and tightened the story in aspects, you could have an entertaining read, but for now there are some issues that could really use some re-working.

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    • Thank you EmpyrealInvective for this critique and feedback. I took care of the basic formatting and wording, and still working on the tangents you mentioned that are hampering the plot. Would it be much better if I cut them out entirely including making no mention about the dad? Also with building on the scene where the family soon realizes that they have an uninvited guest , should I also build up more of the beginning of the story?

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    • Mmpratt99 deviantart wrote: Thank you EmpyrealInvective for this critique and feedback. I took care of the basic formatting and wording, and still working on the tangents you mentioned that are hampering the plot. Would it be much better if I cut them out entirely including making no mention about the dad? Also with building on the scene where the family soon realizes that they have an uninvited guest , should I also build up more of the beginning of the story?

      You really have enough build-up at the start of the story, anymore and you'll run the risk of losing the audience's focus. As for the tangents, I would suggest looking at the story again and deciding if it influences the story. (Does the previous tenant's tchotchke collection enhance the story? Does it come into play later or give the audience insight into the story?)

      Additionally this scene: "Damn! she fumed inwardly. I could have asked it what it was ? What it really wanted? Why it decided to use our upstairs bathroom? I could have solved an inexplicable mystery." really doesn't seem to fit as the character was previously fending the creature off from entering the room. You don't necessarily escape from danger and immediately regret not spending more time asking it questions. Maybe if there was a bit of time passing there, it might feel a bit more warranted.

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    • EmpyrealInvective wrote: You really have enough build-up at the start of the story, anymore and you'll run the risk of losing the audience's focus. As for the tangents, I would suggest looking at the story again and deciding if it influences the story. (Does the previous tenant's tchotchke collection enhance the story? Does it come into play later or give the audience insight into the story?)

      Additionally this scene: "Damn! she fumed inwardly. I could have asked it what it was ? What it really wanted? Why it decided to use our upstairs bathroom? I could have solved an inexplicable mystery." really doesn't seem to fit as the character was previously fending the creature off from entering the room. You don't necessarily escape from danger and immediately regret not spending more time asking it questions. Maybe if there was a bit of time passing there, it might feel a bit more warranted.


      I'm currently rewriting the part featuring the previous tenant's tchotchke obsession since it connects with arithmomania ( obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) with counting and numbers). The monster, in this story, is like the vampires featured in European folklore, often having arithmomania, such as a compulsion to count seeds or grains of rice. The previous owner built numerous sheds around the house, filling them up with collections of tchotchke as well as keeping a horde of stray cats to keep the creature at bay and busy counting various objects (inanimate and animate). Finally, she was taken to the loony bin and another family moved in and got rid of the cats and all the sheds full of what they thought was useless junk. The monster finding no objects to impede its progress finally gained entry into the house where it started mimicking the habits of the eldest daughter.

      Also you're right about the scene where Marlee wanting to confront the thing just doesn't fit with her character. I'm changing that too to where she's just realized how close she came to death and she's like in shock.

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    • "florecent light" - It's "fluorecent".

      "he was licensed, qualified electrician" - Put an 'a' in front of 'licensed'.

      "and my re-organizing my clothes" - The first 'my' should be 'by'.

      ---

      I agree with Emp that at some points you were babbling on a bit too much, but I see you are fixing most of them so I won't comment any further on that. Also, I have to note that I too didn't find the way Marlee reacted to the "thing" appropriate.

      You provided some very suspenseful and creepy moments in this. Overall, it was an enjoyable read and the vocabulary was at times superb.

      I have to say though, I had a bit of an issue with the consistency. Both the vocabulary and the flow was off at times. Not by much, but still. It seemed as if you were more eager to write about the "juice" of the story and rushed through the boring stuff. In the end, you did a great job on the scary bits but not so well on the little transitions in between. A bit more focus and this would have been executed very nicely.

      The main problem with this story is that you tried to write short horror with the mindset of a longer story. If you let go of the need to add a backstory, you'll be free to do fascinating stuff. I'm not saying backstory is useless, but you have to add it scarcely. A great tool in short stories is keeping things ambiguous and simple. Here you added a ton of info, and I have to say, I'm still confused as to what happened. Was the creature the true form of the previous owner? Was it a "pet" of the previous owner?

      All in all, it was a good effort with some genuinely suspenseful scenes, and with some tweaking this will be good. Well done nevertheless.

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    • Thank you MrDupin. Hopefully, the second draft of this will be done by tonight. I'm trying to get rid of the information that's irrelevant to the story like the sister going through eleven hair dye jobs in a four week span or that the dad is a licensed, qualified electrician who knows a lot about the old house's electrical problems. I also added a bit more backstory about the previous owner's hoarding problem and why she really kept large piles of crap and stray cats around (it's for a supernatural reason, a sort of monster deterrent, like a moat).

      So the creature wasn't a pet, but a pest.

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    • Hey Mmpratt99, finally got around to reading your story. 

      You're a descent writer, and you have talent! While your grammer is sometimes a bit off, you can easily solve that by making sure your work is reviewed by an editor (something I do for everything I write). 

      As for the story, it was a fairly descent concept. I sensed a bit of Guillermo Del Toro here. I don't know if you're familiar with his movies or not, but this story reminded me a lot of them. However, I feel as though there was not enough buildup to where the creature leaves the house. There needs to be more buildup and suspense here. Then, you'll have yourself a good-old-fashioned Guillermo Del Toro monster story on your hands. Overall, good work. Keep writing and keep practicing! 

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    • Thank you so much Jake for looking over my latest work--2412 E Cochran Rd. Wow! I didn't know about a bit of Guillermo Del Toro vibe going here. I'm trying to follow your advice about putting in more of a buildup and suspense here. I seemed to think my monsters have more of a M. R. James influence than Guillermo Del Toro; I've only seen three of his movies--Mimic and Cronus, and one where he did the screenplay--Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. Maybe I can have the Lisa character have a momentary vision/hallucination where she sees the original bathroom before it got remodeled and then she sees the creature's hand slowing pulling open the shower curtain.

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    • Mmpratt99 deviantart wrote: Maybe I can have the Lisa character have a momentary vision/hallucination where she sees the original bathroom before it got remodeled and then she sees the creature's hand slowing pulling open the shower curtain.

      This sounds like a great idea. If you pull it off, it will be a great addition to the story.

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    • I just finished a new version>

      2412 E Cochran Rd (With Different Endings)

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    • Update--The new version just got deleted.  I'm still using the old thread.  It's open for review again.

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    • I'm including my old story in the comment box if anyone is curious at looking at the original progress of ideas>

      2412 E Cochran Rd


      It was April first, a Friday. School had just finished and the spring weather in Curtisville was warm and sunny. Those that weren’t buried in piles of chores and homework were already making plans for a fun-filled weekend.

      At the residence of 2412 E Cochran Rd, eight-year-old Ralphie Briarleigh raced to the bathroom and found, after several frantic twists and turns of the knob, that it seemed to be locked. He paused to peer into the frosted glass window on the upper half of the door. A muslin curtain hung over the space, but you could easily tell if someone was in there because the light would always be on and shining through the curtain. The bathroom was dark. There was no familiar florescent glow.

      Ralphie found it strange that the bathroom would even have a window when most bathrooms nowadays had solid wooden doors. A lot about this grayish-white Dutch-colonial was strange from its old-fashioned speaking tubes and servants’ bells to the frosted leaves and lilies etched into the accent glass on all the twelve-pane windows, the way it stood apart from its newer neighbors, tucked back in the redwoods at the edge of town.

      The previous owner was an senile old woman who hoarded antiques and cats, and only used the second floor as storage space. Even when the Briarleighs got rid of the remaining outdated furniture and useless antique clutter, they still found little knick-knacks from time to time tucked away behind wall panels, behind dresser drawers, under the floor boards, even in the holes of old stumps.

      Ralphie, who had a great fascination with small hiding places and secret passages, thought the place was awesome, plus he had a huge yard to play in and there were plenty of neighborhood kids his age he could play video games with and hang out together

      There was just one problem--the bathroom. There was only one decent bathroom in the entire house, and that was upstairs. The other, if you even consider it a bathroom, was a claustrophobic closet space next door to the kitchen that just had a toilet and a shower curtain for privacy. Spiders and house centipedes seemed to congregate in that one area - presumably because they knew Ralphie was absolutely terrified of them and that he couldn’t use the upstairs one on account of his older sister Lisa commandeering it for her personal beauty salon, leg shaving/cosmetic counter and fashion show wardrobe. At least she didn’t do it every day of the week...or that his middle sibling, fourteen-year-old Marlee wasn’t a fashion-freak and bathroom hog.

      He still couldn’t figure out how Lisa always managed to pick the exact time when he was heading to the upstairs bathroom, but she was already way ahead of him, humming tunelessly to herself as she devoted to yet another marathon make-over session of primping and preening in front of the mirror while posing for imaginary photo shots.

      Ralphie wiped his sweating palms on his pants legs and squinted in puzzlement at the dark window. It couldn't have burned out again so soon. Maybe Lisa had it off because she was trying some weird-colored hair dye that only glowed in the dark or under black light. Since middle school she had gone through turquoise, aquamarine, jade green and hot neon pink with orange leopard spots, and had to settled for her natural strawberry-blonde when Mom finally put her foot down. Frowning, he peered in closer, pressing his snub nose against the cold glass. He listened carefully with growing concern, then tugged at the doorknob again. Still locked. He was thinking of whether to get Mom when a flickering yellow light suddenly came on behind the frosted glass.

      Ralphie started, taking a few steps back. Funny how the lights seemed dimmer than before. Maybe one of the tubes was bad or there was a short circuit somewhere or maybe even a grounding problem, Dad would certainly know since he was licensed, qualified electrician, but he was away working overtime at a construction site in Murrelet.

      Beyond the door he could hear the steady drip-drip-drip of the water and the click-click of high-heeled footsteps walking away.

      “Go away!” an all-too familiar voice suddenly groaned from inside the bathroom. “I’m taking a scented candle sauna bath.”

      “Well, I gotta go!” Ralphie yelled back. “Really bad too!” A slight frown puckered his brow as he wondered why Lisa had decided to put on horribly uncomfortable sandals rather than her usual cozy slippers when she went to turn on the lights.

      “Well, go use the closet one!” Lisa muttered grumpily. “Or if you’re in a real hurry, go use a bucket or the bushes even.”

      “Huh-uh! No way, Lisa!” Ralphie’s pulse raced as he pounded hard on the oak paneling. “The closet one’s got creepy crawling bugs that scare the beejeebers outta of me, and I’m not doing it outside like a bear! You gotta come and unlock the door or get out so I can use the bathroom.”

      “I’m not leaving this tub!” his irate sibling called out. “Not when Auntie Flo’s paying a visit.”

      “What?” Ralphie’s brow furrowed in puzzlement. “We don’t have an Auntie Flo...and what’s all that got to do with you hogging the bathroom?”

      “Go ask Mom,” Lisa muttered drowsily. There was a faint sloshing of water as she settled back in the tub. “She’ll tell you.”

      Ralphie glared at the door through teary eyes. He fidgeted as he worriedly ran his small fingers through his sandy blonde hair. He glanced quickly around the upstairs hall as his face turned a deep red. “Well, I’m gonna tell Mom you’re hogging the bathroom.”

      He spun around and faced the other upstairs rooms.

      “Moooom!” he yelled as he raced down the hall. “Moooooom!! MOOOOOOOOM!!!”

      He ran into Lisa’s room and straight into Mom as she was turning with the empty laundry basket under her arm.

      “What’s going on?” Mrs. Briarleigh asked, bewildered.

      “Mom. Lisa’s hogging the bathroom again!”

      Mrs. Briarleigh stared at her youngest child, dumbfounded. “Lisa’s hogging the bathroom again?”

      “Yes, Lisa’s hogging the bathroom again!” Ralphie repeated furiously, flailing his arms around in wild frustration. “And I gotta go really bad, but she won’t let me in cause she’s taking a sauna or something. Make her get out so I can go!”

      A few minutes of silence followed as Mrs. Briarleigh continued to stare at him, wide-eyed with mouth slightly agape. Then her gaze slowly shifted to over her shoulder.

      Baffled at her reaction, Ralphie stared back. Then following the direction of her startled look, he saw, standing in the doorway of a walk-in closet, Lisa neatly coordinated in skinny black jeans and a bright pink blazer. Her flaming red hair was tied back with a bright green scrunchie, the exact matching color of her eyes.

      “What are you talking about?” Lisa asked. a deep frown marring her pretty, freckled features. “I was here all along, improving the Feng Shui of my bedroom by clearing out my closet space and my re-organizing my clothes so it can help attract good luck and abundance in my life.”

      “See, it couldn’t have been Lisa you heard,” Mrs. Briarleigh told Ralphie. “It must have been Marlee playing an April Fools' prank on you.”

      “Marlee doesn’t play pranks,” Ralphie grumbled, “and it sounded more like Lisa talking.” He shuffled his feet, then added, “And I really got to go.”

      “Well, don’t go on my licorne fleece carpet!” Lisa cried, looking around wildly for a waste basket.


      Since nobody answered the doorbell, Marlee had to unlock the door and then raced in to turn off the alarm. After disarming the alarm, she walked into the living room to drop off her duffle bag and grimy soccer uniform, then to the kitchen for some gatorade before clumping up the stairs, heading straight for the bathroom. As she near the door she froze to a sudden halt with one hand raised to grasp the knob. Eyes wide, she slowly drew her hand back and clenched it tightly at her side. Her skin began to prickle as every hair on the back of her neck and arms shot straight up. While the logical half of her mind told her sternly she was just being silly and to stop acting like a scared little kid, the other half urgently told her not to turn the knob, not to take another step closer to the threshold.

      She could hear the faint sound of splashing water, and then Lisa’s voice drifted out through the sealed door.

      “Marlee?”

      “That you, Lisa?” Marlee sagged with relief, her breath coming out in a big whoosh. “Oh Gods...for a minute there, I thought there was someone really weird in the bathroom there.”

      “Of course it’s me, you silly goose,” Lisa replied breezily. “Who did you think it was? Bigfoot? The Creature from the Black Lagoon?”

      Marlee stared at the door in confusion. Silly goose? Since when did Lisa used really age-old expressions?

      “Ugh,” she grimaced as strange pungent odor suddenly stung her nostrils. “And what that godawful smell?” Almost like raw meat and ammonia and musk combined.


      Clamping one hand over her nose and mouth, Marlee turned away while fighting back a wave of nausea and then realized that Mom, Ralphie and Lisa were standing right behind, staring at her without saying a word.

      “What...?” she looked back wide-eyed at the trio then looked Lisa full in the face before looking back at the door. She felt her cheeks grow cold and deathly white. “If Lisa’s out...here,” she stammered out. “Then...who’s in...?”

      Her voice died in her throat as she heard it--a harsh grating laugh rising from within the depths of the bathroom. It was followed shortly by the unmistakable wet thud of feet touching linoleum tile and then the muffled, leaden tread accompanied by rhythmic clicking moving across the floor.

      Marlee, stood trembling for an instant listening with growing panic, then plunged for the doorknob, tugging hard with all her might. She braced one foot against the doorframe.

      That door was going to stay locked and sealed as long as she held her ground.

      The shambling clicking steps came closer; a shadow darkened the muslin curtain in the frosted glass of the door. The steps were slow and shuffling, like that of a large and heavy person rather than that of a thin and slight high schooler such as Lisa. The knob shook as a hand fumbled with the one inside; Marlee, bracing herself, tightened her hold and the door shook and rattled. The sickening stench was now pouring out, causing her to choke and gag. Dimly she became aware of yet another smell, that of her fear-frozen brother finally losing all bladder control.

      Then her mother pried her fingers off the knob and had her by the shoulders as she ushered her children away toward the stairs.

      “Mom, what are you doing?” Marlee’s eyes widened in shock and annoyance. “I’m going to get out!”

      “Shut up, Marlee,” Lisa warned quietly as she glanced fearfully back. “You want it to hear you?”

      “Lisa--” Marlee began furiously, but Mrs. Briarleigh held her finger to her lips and shushed.

      Marlee’s cheeks flushed furiously as her mother marched them rapidly straight downstairs and out the door into the bright April sunlight. Damn! she fumed inwardly. I could have asked it what it was ? What it really wanted? Why it decided to use our upstairs bathroom? I could have solved an inexplicable mystery.

      As they quickened their pace and hurried down the main street to their nearest neighbor, Marlee realized that some things were best left well alone and unknown.

      Shivering, she closed her eyes tight and let her mother hurry her along. Turning her face into the warm Spring breeze, she listened to it sift through the early flowers and new leaves of the trees and bushes. The late afternoon shadows lengthened across newly-trimmed lawns and weeded, swept patios along Azalea Ave.

      Back at 2412 E Cochran Rd, the bathroom door slowly crept open, not making a sound. A long serpentine-like shape darker than all the shades of night raced out and down the stairs. Moving fast almost with lightning speed, it glided out the front door, crossing the vast lawn before disappearing into the shadows of the trees.

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    • I'll read and review this tomorrow, after I've recovered from mowing the lawn. Bump!

      Heckler- You can't bump a thread that was just updated four hours ago!

      Oops. Well, hopefully my next post will be more helpful!

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    • Raidra wrote:

      I'll read and review this tomorrow, after I've recovered from mowing the lawn. Bump! Heckler- You can't bump a thread that was just updated four hours ago! Oops. Well, hopefully my next post will be more helpful!


      The only thing that even counts as a lawn at my place is the grassy strip on both sides of the driveway. Inside the yard, every available space is either covered with greenhouses or sheds or overgrown jungle.

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    • "It’s rally freezing in here" - It's 'really' instead of 'rally'.

      "the room immediately turn to darkness" - It's not 'turn'; put something else there. Maybe 'turned'.

      "since when did Lisa used really age-old" - It's 'use' instead of 'used'.

      "Lisa will just think you’re weird if you told her about the" - Grammar issue. Either write: "Lisa would just think you’re weird if you told her about the" or "Lisa will just think you’re weird if you tell her about the". (Notine how I used 'will' and 'told')

      " Oh, she’s smoking a joint..''.Well, that " - The quotation mark between the periods (that form an ellipses) should be removed.

      " If she gets caught by Mom, it’s not my problem then " - This should be italicized.

      "The silence here was deadening" - Did you mean to say 'deafening'?

      " accompanied by a faint rancid smell. Marlee frowned as she shook her head impatiently. " - This shouldn't be italicized.

      "choked and and wheezed" - Remove one 'and'.

      ---

      In the new parts, Ralphie doesn't act like an 8-year-old. He knows about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vlad the Impaler, Romania/Transylvania etc. I suggest you cut down on such knowledge, as it doesn't seem realistic.

      Another problem was that the characters' thoughts went on for far too long. At times you wrote whole paragraphs. I suggest trying to be quicker on the thoughts parts.

      I suggest you go with either ending 1 or 2. The third I didn't like that much, to be honest.

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    • MrDupin
      MrDupin removed this reply because:
      Irrelevant
      15:44, April 24, 2016
      This reply has been removed
    • Mr. Dupin wrote:  In the new parts, Ralphie doesn't act like an 8-year-old. He knows about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vlad the Impaler, Romania/Transylvania etc. I suggest you cut down on such knowledge, as it doesn't seem realistic.

      Another problem was that the characters' thoughts went on for far too long. At times you wrote whole paragraphs. I suggest trying to be quicker on the thoughts parts.

      I suggest you go with either ending 1 or 2. The third I didn't like that much


      Thank so much for pointing out the errors and typos. I changed Ralphie's knowledge about vampire shows from Buffy to Scooby Doo since looking over, I now agree with you, it didn't seem realistic for him to watch a sophisticated show, especially if he has parents controlling his TV viewing.

      I'm still work on cutting back the amount of character thought. Also I finally agree with you on the third ending since it now seems rather abrupt and Goosebumps kind of lame.

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    • Mmpratt99 deviantart wrote: The only thing that even counts as a lawn at my place is the grassy strip on both sides of the driveway. Inside the yard, every available space is either covered with greenhouses or sheds or overgrown jungle.

      Interesting. You should use a place like that as a setting for a story. Heads up- I haven't read most of the posts on this thread yet, so I don't know how much of this is already covered. However, I did see Dupin's list and responded accordingly.

      Typos

      • A lot about this stately light gray Dutch-colonial was strange from its old-fashioned speaking tubes and servants’ bells to the frosted leaves and lilies etched into the accent glass on all the twelve-pane windows, the way it stood apart from its newer-built neighbors, tucked back in the redwoods at the edge of town.- A lot about this stately light gray Dutch-colonial was strange, from its old-fashioned speaking tubes and servants’ bells to the frosted leaves and lilies etched into the accent glass on all the twelve-pane windows, and the way it stood apart from its newer-built neighbors, tucked back in the redwoods at the edge of town.
      • The same, however, could not be said for the overgrown garden crammed full of stuff and the stray cats or even for Mrs. Cartwright who was now convalescing at the Sempervirens Psychiatric Health Facility down in Union Town.- The same, however, could not be said for the overgrown garden crammed full of stuff and the stray cats or even for Mrs. Cartwright, who was now convalescing at the Sempervirens Psychiatric Health Facility down in Union Town.
      • “There’s no such things as vampires,” Ralphie murmured. “Just made-up ones like the Count on Sesame Street or those demon guys on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”- “There’s no such thing as vampires,” Ralphie murmured. “Just made-up ones like the Count on Sesame Street or those demon guys on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” (Also, the names of shows should be italiiczed)
      • “Yeah, well Mrs. Cartwright was probably just some crazy ole cat lady with a big hoarding problem,” Ralphie insisted.- “Yeah, well, Mrs. Cartwright was probably just some crazy ole cat lady with a big hoarding problem,” Ralphie insisted.
      • Everyone thought this was strange except for Ralphie who thought it was all pretty awesome. It was like Christmas and Easter combined, some strange new trinket was always turning up in unexpected places. His sisters thought it was all due to ghostly pranksters or house sprites, his parents, being realists, thought it was just more of Mrs. Cartwright’s collection turning up.- Everyone thought this was strange except for Ralphie who thought it was all pretty awesome. It was like Christmas and Easter combined; some strange new trinket was always turning up in unexpected places. His sisters thought it was all due to ghostly pranksters or house sprites. His parents, being realists, thought it was just more of Mrs. Cartwright’s collection turning up.
      • Geez, Ralphie! he shook his head in disgust.- Geez, Ralphie! He shook his head in disgust.
      • “I’m not leaving this tub!” His irate sibling called out.- “I’m not leaving this tub!” his irate sibling called out.
      • “And she stinkin’ up the place with her sauna scented candles that smell like roadkill!”- “And she’s stinkin’ up the place with her sauna scented candles that smell like roadkill!”
      • “What are you talking about?” Lisa asked. a deep frown marring her pretty, freckled features. “I was here all along, trying to improve the Feng Shui of my bedroom by re-organizing my entire wardrobe. ”- “What are you talking about?” Lisa asked, a deep frown marring her pretty, freckled features. “I was here all along, trying to improve the Feng Shui of my bedroom by re-organizing my entire wardrobe.”
      • After disarming the alarm, she walked into the living room to drop off her duffle bag and grimy soccer uniform, then to the kitchen for some gatorade before clumping up the stairs, heading straight for the bathroom. As she near the door she froze to a sudden halt with one hand raised to grasp the knob.- After disarming the alarm, she walked into the living room to drop off her duffle bag and grimy soccer uniform, then to the kitchen for some Gatorade before clumping up the stairs, heading straight for the bathroom. As she neared the door she froze to a sudden halt with one hand raised to grasp the knob. (Another option is "As she came near the door...")
      • She never expected to see the tall mound resembling a lumpish pile of large large intestines but sickly bluish-gray instead, and rapidly undulating like a mass of worms, or a pale triangular face peering out between the grisly locks with steel-pale eyes fixed piercingly on Marlee’s incredulous gaze, and then a widening crescent of needle-like teeth glinting in the dim light.- She never expected to see the tall mound resembling a lumpish pile of large intestines but sickly bluish-gray instead, and rapidly undulating like a mass of worms, or a pale triangular face peering out between the grisly locks with steel-pale eyes fixed piercingly on Marlee’s incredulous gaze, and then a widening crescent of needle-like teeth glinting in the dim light.
      • The thing was gone as well as the darkness, the muslin curtain was back in place, illuminated by a warm yellow light.- The thing was gone as well as the darkness. The muslin curtain was back in place, illuminated by a warm yellow light.
      • That’s quite a coincidence, she just mentioned it shortly after I saw something very Medusa-like.- That’s quite a coincidence; she just mentioned it shortly after I saw something very Medusa-like.
      • Maybe I just imagined it all--I know I got really stressed out during practice, and it was also very hot and I knew I should have drunk enough water, plus I just had a microwave burito for lunch that was rather gross and sickening.- Maybe I just imagined it all--I know I got really stressed out during practice, and it was also very hot and I knew I should have drunk enough water, plus I just had a microwave burrito for lunch that was rather gross and sickening.
      • Marlee couldn’t move, couldn't scream or get away from the monstrous aberration looming before her, she could only stare up and gape as it uncoiled a dark red tongue the length and width of a small fire hose, snatched her in its sticky, squeezing grasp and swallowed her down like a crumb of bread.- Marlee couldn’t move, scream or get away from the monstrous aberration looming before her. She could only stare up and gape as it uncoiled a dark red tongue the length and width of a small fire hose, snatched her in its sticky, squeezing grasp and swallowed her down like a crumb of bread.

      I also noticed that sometimes you called the character "Marlee" and sometimes you called her "Marless" (unless I'm still tired).

      Suggested

      • At least she didn’t do it every day of the week (which was a relief)...or that his middle sibling, fourteen-year-old Marlee wasn’t a fashion-freak and bathroom hog (even better).

      He still couldn’t figure out how Lisa always managed to pick the exact time when he was heading to the upstairs bathroom, but she had already barricaded herself inside, humming tunelessly as she devoted herself to yet another marathon make-over session of primping and preening in front of the mirror while posing for imaginary photo shots.- At least she didn’t do it every day of the week (which was a relief)...or that his middle sibling, fourteen-year-old Marlee wasn’t a fashion-freak and bathroom hog (even better). He still couldn’t figure out how Lisa always managed to pick the exact time when he was heading to the upstairs bathroom, but she had already barricaded herself inside, humming tunelessly as she devoted herself to yet another marathon make-over session of primping and preening in front of the mirror while posing for imaginary photo shots.

      • When they eventually found her the next day, she was in the upstairs bathroom with an exacto knife beside her.- I could be wrong, but I think Exacto is a brand name and should capitalized.
      • Severed, dried human hands with long burning candles screwed into the nails were arrayed around the dismal drab room, casting odd flickering shadows across the lime-coated walls.- Severed, dried human hands with long, burning candles screwed into the nails were arrayed around the dismal drab room, casting odd flickering shadows across the lime-coated walls.

      I imagine it's hard enough moving into a new house without monsters smoking stinkweed in the bathroom. I liked how obsessive the house's previous owner was with her method of protecting against vampires. I also loved the foreshadowing by comparing the weapon the woman was found with versus the wounds she had (I've used an Exacto knife in my art and classwork, so I know what kind of marks it makes). Overall it's a good, unsettling story. I think the ending should depend on whether you want this to be a more humorous piece or a more horrifying piece. The endings seem a little short, but then again, I haven't read the other version on here, so I'll read that before I say anything else about that subject.

      On a semi-related note, I also go into a dark bathroom to test glow-in-the-dark products (vampire fangs, nail polish, etc.). When I used to catch fireflies I'd take the jar inside under my shirt, set it in the dark bathroom, and watch them glow before releasing them outside.

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    • Thank you Raidra for pointing out further errors. I'm thinking of going with a more humorous ending rather than something more horrifying. I wish there were glowing fireflies around where I live. That would make the place much more exciting.

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    • Thanks for including the original draft! It's really cool to compare and contrast. I liked when Marlee discovered her family behind her, and the description of Ralphie peeing was funny. It would work well as the first part in a series (like you've done stories before), but since you said you were thinking of going with a more humorous ending, I can understand you changing it.

      It's interesting how the new version depicts the knickknacks as a defense against vampires. Speaking of which, I've thought about something a little. I can understand Ralphie not being familiar with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I don't fully agree with Dupin's comment that he wouldn't know about Vlad the Impaler and Transylvania. That's because I was still in grade school when I read a couple books on vampires and learned about them (I don't remember what the first was called, but the other was Meet the Vampire by Georgess McHargue). These books were gory in places, but they were children's books. One was in a classroom and the other was in the children's section of the local library. I do admit, though, that I was probably ten or eleven, so it's up to you to decide if an eight-year-old knowing about such things is realistic.

      I've heard that there were people who didn't know that fireflies were real until they took a trip to an area where they lived. My gosh. What, did these people think that lightning bugs were like fairies or something? Who are these people seeing fireflies and going, "They're... real..."?

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    • You're welcome Raidra and thank you for the further feedback. I find that hard to believe that there are people that think that lightning bugs are not real. Where do they live...the city?

      Also I'm going to leave Ralphie ignorant of real life vampires since his parents are rather protective.

      Do you agree with Mr. Dupin's comment that the characters's train of thought should be trimmed?

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    • @Raidra: I understand that a kid may have read fictional vampire books (even I had at the time) but Vlad the Impaler is real, and I don't think they would teach him in history class to young kids, let alone give all the grim details + his influence of vampires.

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    • Mr.Dupin wrote: @Raidra: I understand that a kid may have read fictional vampire books (even I had at the time) but Vlad the Impaler is real, and I don't think they would teach him in history class to young kids, let alone give all the grim details + his influence of vampires.


      Okay. That makes sense.

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    • MrDupin wrote: @Raidra: I understand that a kid may have read fictional vampire books (even I had at the time) but Vlad the Impaler is real, and I don't think they would teach him in history class to young kids, let alone give all the grim details + his influence of vampires.

      These books weren't fictional vampire stories. They were non-fiction books talking about vampire lore and superstition as well as historical figures associated with vampires, and they did talk about Vlad the Impaler. In fact, that's how I learned about him. These were children's books, yet they talked about Vlad sticking his victims on posts and leaving them to die. The most famous story, recounted in both books, is about the time that Vlad held an outdoor dinner party surrounded by impaled victims (something he apparently did quite often) and a guest complained about the smell. Vlad had the guest impaled on a stake higher than the others, so he wouldn't be bothered by the smell anymore. Meet the Vampire also has a Vlad story more gruesome than that. It's been a while, but I think they also talked about that countess who reportedly bathed in people's blood. The first book talked about werewolves as well, and it (along with Meet the Werewolf by Georgess McHargue) talked about that teenager in medieval France (Jean something-or-other) who stole, killed, and ate children. We weren't taught this in class, but we had easy access to the books (since one was on the classroom shelf, where anyone could grab it for reading time, and the other was at the public library across from our elementary school, which we visited as a class every two or three weeks). Now that that's been cleared up, yeah, I can understand how the character wouldn't know about such things.

      As for the train of thought, you could have the thoughts be part thoughts, part narration. For instance- Marlee’s mouth dropped open as she stared at the door in baffled confusion. "Did Lisa just mention the Medusa?" That was quite a coincidence; she just mentioned it shortly after Marlee saw something very Medusa-like. And since when did Lisa use really age-old expressions?

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    • Raidra wrote: These books weren't fictional vampire stories. They were non-fiction books talking about vampire lore and superstition as well as historical figures associated with vampires, and they did talk about Vlad the Impaler. In fact, that's how I learned about him. These were children's books, yet they talked about Vlad sticking his victims on posts and leaving them to die. The most famous story, recounted in both books, is about the time that Vlad held an outdoor dinner party surrounded by impaled victims (something he apparently did quite often) and a guest complained about the smell. Vlad had the guest impaled on a stake higher than the others, so he wouldn't be bothered by the smell anymore. Meet the Vampire also has a Vlad story more gruesome than that. It's been a while, but I think they also talked about that countess who reportedly bathed in people's blood. The first book talked about werewolves as well, and it (along with Meet the Werewolf by Georgess McHargue) talked about that teenager in medieval France (Jean something-or-other) who stole, killed, and ate children. We weren't taught this in class, but we had easy access to the books (since one was on the classroom shelf, where anyone could grab it for reading time, and the other was at the public library across from our elementary school, which we visited as a class every two or three weeks). Now that that's been cleared up, yeah, I can understand how the character wouldn't know about such things. As for the train of thought, you could have the thoughts be part thoughts, part narration. For instance- Marlee’s mouth dropped open as she stared at the door in baffled confusion. "Did Lisa just mention the Medusa?" That was quite a coincidence; she just mentioned it shortly after Marlee saw something very Medusa-like. And since when did Lisa use really age-old expressions?


      I think I was either in the second or third grade when I first heard about Vlad the Impaler. My parents weren't overprotective to the extreme, although they didn't allow me to ride a bike to the beach during a school trip. I had to get a lift from my eight-grade teacher's husband. I was really pissed and I think I didn't talk to them for a few days. My mom wouldn't even allow me to go to the Safe and Sober Graduation Ceremony. My younger sister has more confidence than me!


      I followed your advice and went with having the thoughts be part thoughts, part narration.

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    • Overall I liked the story. I sort of had a Goosebumps feel to it, in a good way. The pacing was long but not so slow that it made the story difficult to read. The buildup could be sped up a bit, or incorporated more throughout the middle. The scene where Ralphe is talking to something through the door that mimics his sister was pretty creepy though, and did set a good tone as to wanting to find out what happens next.

      The initial set-up was very good too, with the neighborhood friend telling the story about vampires and the counting. The family finding all of the strange items hidden around the house kept that trend going. My only critique would be the quicken the overall pace a bit. It remains in the mundane phase of situational setting for most of the story, then suddenly crashes into the closing phase. I would suggest, as I stated above, including more closing phase material in the middle, just to assist in exiting the mundane a bit smoother. 

      All in all though, I enjoyed this and think, once the grammatical issues that have been pointed out have been fixed, will fit nicely on this site. Excellent job!

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    • Banningk1979 wrote:

      Overall I liked the story. I sort of had a Goosebumps feel to it, in a good way. The pacing was long but not so slow that it made the story difficult to read. The buildup could be sped up a bit, or incorporated more throughout the middle. The scene where Ralphe is talking to something through the door that mimics his sister was pretty creepy though, and did set a good tone as to wanting to find out what happens next.

      The initial set-up was very good too, with the neighborhood friend telling the story about vampires and the counting. The family finding all of the strange items hidden around the house kept that trend going. My only critique would be the quicken the overall pace a bit. It remains in the mundane phase of situational setting for most of the story, then suddenly crashes into the closing phase. I would suggest, as I stated above, including more closing phase material in the middle, just to assist in exiting the mundane a bit smoother.

      All in all though, I enjoyed this and think, once the grammatical issues that have been pointed out have been fixed, will fit nicely on this site. Excellent job!''


      Thank you Banningk1979.

      The middle part you're referring to that still need transitional work, is that where the character Marlee comes in?

      Also do you find the third alternate ending rather over-the-top and annoying compared to the first two?

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    • Not so much over the top or annoying, but the "bad ending" is a rather common theme around here, so I would say that the third ending is a bit common. While there is nothing wrong with it, it is the more vanilla of the 3 endings and would likely create a rather drab conclussion. I would suggest going in a different direction than the 3rd ending.

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    • Banningk1979 wrote:

      Not so much over the top or annoying, but the "bad ending" is a rather common theme around here, so I would say that the third ending is a bit common. While there is nothing wrong with it, it is the more vanilla of the 3 endings and would likely create a rather drab conclusion. I would suggest going in a different direction than the 3rd ending.


      Thank you. I was going to leave it out anyway.

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    • I'll probably put this up on the main wiki either tonight or tomorrow.

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    • Mmpratt99 deviantart wrote: My mom wouldn't even allow me to go to the Safe and Sober Graduation Ceremony. My younger sister has more confidence than me!

      That's too bad, though I like to think your mom's heart was in the right place. As for the story, I don't think I have anything to add at this point.

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    • Raidra wrote:Mmpratt99 deviantart wrote: My mom wouldn't even allow me to go to the Safe and Sober Graduation Ceremony. My younger sister has more confidence than me!

      That's too bad, though I like to think your mom's heart was in the right place. As for the story, I don't think I have anything to add at this point.

      Once again, thank you for the review and feedback.

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    • It's always a pleasure. :-)

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    • ( I'm trying to upload this story to the main wiki, but there's some error-thing with one of the servers.  Should I wait or try to reload it?

      Okay, it's sorted out now>

      2412 E Cochran Rd

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