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  • As usual, the night is silent and freezing. The day had long since disappeared from recent memory. When I look up, there are only a few stars to be seen, if any. The little light that the stars provide cast a dim glow over the city of Stelrock. The city is empty. The people that used to live here are gone. All that remains is their possessions and their unmoving, still, silent bodies, or what remained of them. Most have decayed beyond recognition, to the point where they are barely identifiable as human. My world is devoid of life, movement, warmth, and light. The only notable thing is a dark mist drifting across the sky, as if it is watching me.

    My name is Michael Vallison. Throughout my whole life I have lived in Stelrock, which was a city full of life and movement. For the most part we led a carefree life. There was never anything that endangered us, scared us, or put us at unrest. We each had our hopes and dreams for our future. I wanted to finally pursue my career as a writer after years of failed attempts at other professions. I was tired of living at home and working whatever odd jobs I could find. But all of these dreams were crushed on August 10th, 2020. At the dawn of the next day, there was no day to be found. The sky sat above us empty and unwelcoming. Even the stars were gone. The only source of light was inside our homes. The radios no longer worked, and it seemed as if the internet shut down. We were alone and isolated from the rest of the world.

    It soon became apparent that if we wanted to be safe we needed the light. Those who went outside without a source of light rarely returned. Over time I found it hard to sleep. Oftentimes I would shine a flashlight out my window, only to see the lifeless body of a neighbor, decaying in the street. It was slow and painful to watch people I knew and loved slowly taken away from me. I still remember it clearly when we found my little brother lying motionless in the grass. He ran out, not knowing what danger lay ahead of him. My father, mother, and I sat silent that day, tears streaming down our cheeks. The thought had never even occurred to any of us that we would lose him first. I had always hoped that I'd go out before him. The next day I found a note from my parents which said, "We love you. We want the best for you, and we want you to make it through this. It's been too much for us, and with us here you'll die faster. It's for the best. We love you, and we always will." On the paper there were visibly dried tears. I never saw them again.

    The people left in my neighborhood made do with what we had, but there came a point where we could not carry on. With no sun to feed them, the plants, and therefore animals, all died. Our batteries ran out of power and we had no source to produce more. With no source of food or light, we dropped like flies. Soon enough, I found myself completely alone. Everyone else was either dead or missing.

    Not one to let myself go out so easily, I gathered the little valuables I still had left: a flashlight, two batteries, some scraps of food, the note, and a knife. With those in hand, I turned the flashlight on and exited my home. I had no idea where to go, but I knew I had to get out of here. For most of my journey, there was nothing. No movement or sound could be detected. After nearly a day's worth of walking, I saw an illuminated house. It was the first I had seen since I left home. Other's homes simply didn't have a generator, or a small energy supply.

    I rushed towards the house, hoping to find a safe haven. When I arrived, I knocked on the door, then waited. Nothing. I tested to see if it was unlocked, and slowly I crept open the door. All that was there to greet me was light. From my first impressions, it seemed empty. I checked each and every room, until I came to the bedroom. The light inside was turned off. Cautiously I crept in and flipped the lightswitch.

    At last! I had found someone else. They turned to me and said, "Where are you from, and why are you here?" "I'm from Stelrock. My name is Michael, and I'm trying to escape whatever is out there." They looked at me with no visible expression before saying, "There's nothing out there. I don't know who you are, Michael, but... you're crazy. It's just nighttime." I was dumbfounded. What was wrong with me? Is this a dream? Am I insane? Still, I carried on with the conversation. "Where are you from?" I asked. "Here, I've always lived here," they replied. "I remember when there was no darkness, no freezing cold, no mist clouding up what little visible surroundings around me. I remember being able to go outside and just enjoy life without fearing for it. My family was happy. What has happened here?" I said. They did not respond. I tried to regain grip of my surroundings and focused more on who I was talking to.

    With my head clear, the situation became obvious; whoever lived here had fallen to the dark as well. Two of them stared at me blankly, with no life behind their eyes. Perhaps they had made a simple mistake and turned off the light out of habit. Silently I walked out, and sat down, knowing that I would continue to travel tomorrow and would need rest. The conversation I held was with myself.

    Soon after I woke up and left, I glanced over my shoulder back at the house. The lights were off, the electricity was gone. At this point I had only one choice: to walk. I walked as far as I could, even after I ate the last morsels of food and the freezing cold made me unable to feel my body. I walked until the batteries died. All hope was lost at that moment. In the middle of nowhere, I had nothing to use to provide light. I was helpless, and at mercy to whatever lay out there. There would be no point in trying. Soon I would know how the rest of this town became corpses.

    This brings me to the present. The others that left me long ago no longer feel what I do, they no longer endure what I do. I am alone. They succumbed to it, and I am sure to follow. No matter where I go, where I hide, it is pointless. I will be found no matter where I am. Finding myself in its hands is inevitable. No one is here to comfort me now. I cannot shake a feeling of helplessness from my body. It is overpowering, all-consuming. Every fiber of my being, my soul, is fighting against time and the knowledge that I am next, and I cannot do anything. Hide from it, fight it, accept it, nothing will help me. My only glimmer of hope is that it will be better on the other side if there is one. Each second that passes by is a step closer to encountering it, and all I can do is dread it’s arrival.

    I do not know when it will come for me. It is silent, there will be no warning of its arrival. When it comes, my time is up. I do know that I will not see it. Even if there was light, I would not be able to see its form. It is shapeless, it is larger than the universe itself and smaller than an atom. When there were still others with me, we called it incomprehensible.

    When the little light that I still see fades, I will know it is here. In my hands I clutch my parent's note, as my last memory of them and my family as a whole. I fear that if I close my eyes, I will be gone before I open them.

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    • I suggest not using bold text, it makes the story unpleasant to look at.

      As for the story itself, more than half of it is the narrator exposting it us that he is all alone and the last half of it is him saying about how he fears something will take him before coming to accept it.

      There is very little substance to this story and it is very lacking in content.

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    • It's my first try at writing anything of this sort, are there any pointers you could give?

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    • First off, like I said don't use bold text for the entire story.

      Second, try expanding the story a little bit. Try to make us fear what he fears.

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    • ChillCoin,

      NedWolfkin is right. It is difficult to read the text in bold font. I actually had to paste it into Notepad to read it.

      Edit your story by hovering your mouse around the lower right corner of your story until the [Quote] and [More] option appears. Under [More] you can find Edit. Look for three single quotes together at the very beginning. Remove them. Check all the way at the end for three more. Remove them.

      It's very difficult to say much about a story when there's so little of it here. I know this guy is afraid something is happening, but we have no idea what. We also have no idea when or where this is happening, who this is happening to, their age or gender, etc. It's very difficult to get emotionally involved with a protagonist when we don't know anything about them. You need to figure all of that out and you need to let us know enough of that by the time we read these paragraphs that we have a good feel for part of it. You can make that obvious. "My name is Charles Mason. I live in what is left of Moscow, Russia. I may be the last living thing on Earth." It may be given with subtle clues. "The little light that the stars provide cast a dim glow over the onion domes of the Kremlin." "Today, I found the bodies of my wife and children. No one is here to comfort me now."

      That said, you brought this partial story here. This is the right place to take it, where we can help you. There are some very good authors here.

      English:

      I've seen far, far worse. It's not perfect or even good enough to post on the main Wiki, but it is decent for a first draft here. As one of those utterly annoying people who correct English, here are some suggestions.

      • They succumbed to it, and I am surely to follow.

      Try "sure to follow."

      • I cannot shake a feeling of helplessness from my body as I think about it as I speak.

      There is something very confusing and awkward here. Try it without the underlined section.

      • Every fiber of my being, my soul, is fighting against time and the knowledge.

      The knowledge of what? You need to say what knowledge it is. "and the knowledge that the Gestappo will take me at Midnight." You could get away with "and that knowledge" here.

      • My only glimmer of hope is that it will be better on the other side, if there is one.

      The comma isn't necessary as the dependent clause can't stand as a sentence on its own.

      • Each second that passes by is a step closer to encountering it, and all I can do is dread it’s arrival.

      It's means "it is." Its means posessive. "Give the dog its ball." You make the same mistake in two other places.

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    • Thank you, I'll revise this with that in mind.

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    • There's a nice little abstract concept you have here, and the writing style is quite pleasant to read, but past that, there's barely anything else. It's fine if you want to keep this "incomprehensible" thing a vague threat, but we need some more substance.

      So, there's this strange, all-consuming thing that has claimed everyone around it, and the narrator is next. Good premise. Expand on it, give us more.

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    • I want to keep it a vauge threat, but I'm not sure how to truly take advantage of that. I feel like I should describe it more, but then it would lose it's mystery about it. The narrator doesn't truly understand it and still dreads it, and I want the reader to feel the same.

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    • ChillCoin wrote: I want to keep it a vauge threat, but I'm not sure how to truly take advantage of that. I feel like I should describe it more, but then it would lose it's mystery about it. The narrator doesn't truly understand it and still dreads it, and I want the reader to feel the same.

      The narrator may not understand the threat, but they really should know some basic information.

      • Who they are
      • Where they are
      • What the threat has done to others
      • What their emotional state is
      • What their physical state is

      Since you don't want to give us a clear idea what they are afraid of, you should give us enough information that we become invested in the character. Right now, we don't have ANY information on the protagonist.

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    • I added more about the narrator and where they came from, and what led them to this point. I'm hoping that this improved the story.

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    • Chillcoin,

      That's better. We have a name. We don't have enough to have a nationality, but the name gives us a gender.

      Who does Michael care for in this town? If he mentions mother and father and older sister, that gives us a feel for age. As of right now, he seems very young. No job or significant other. It's OK to be young, but let us have a more complete picture of him.

      The feeling is that everyone in Stelrock suddenly suffered from severe depression, curled up and died.

      You mention that there is no light. Is that allegorical of depression? There is electricity, and all the light was in houses. You state that one house had light. If you have electricity and electric lights, you can grow crops indoors. That is if you aren't taken over by crippling depression.

      If everyone in a city bellied up and died, the rats and roaches would take over. You don't mention them. If you want horror and anxiety and depression, bring them in.

      People don't mummify except under extrordinary circumstances. Those dead bodies would be decaying or skeletons or something. Again, this is a really good way to introduce horror.

      If this guy had the will to survive, he could. Why has he lost that will? Make us feel losing that will.

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    • Thanks, I'll try to work on it more tonight.

      I want him to be in his twenties, old enough to have some maturity and understanding and young enough that he still had goals for his life.

      I will add the decaying skeletons in some cases, but not all. For example, with the people in the illuminated house, I will not. That way I can show that it happened recently to them. But for others and if I add more stuff along those lines, I will probably go the decaying route. 

      I'm not sure about the roaches and rats. For a time, yes, they would take over, but eventually they will run out of food, just like the people. So if I were to add them, I feel like it would be only for a short time. 

      As for the light, interpert it as you wish. I see it as a symbol of hope and safety. Without it, people tend to feel lost.

      I'll explain what the incomprehensible is, in hopes it might make it easier to suggest edits. It's not really an entity, so to speak. It's more of an idea. I got the idea of it from thinking about the end of the universe. One of the ways it could end is called the "Big Chill", in which over time every star cools down and drifts away, leaving everything in a cold, near pitch black state. (This reminds me that I should mention this cold as a part of the story) Thats why I talk about light so much, it's like something is still trying to hold on. I'm also trying to use it as everything has an end, and that is unstoppable. We can dely it, fight it, or hide, but it is inevitable. I wanted to take those two ideas and use them to create something that couldn't really be understood by the narrator or the reader. Some of the advice I saw on this wiki was to write about things that scare yourself. Personally, the thought of the end scares me, and in the end that's how I started on this. Do you have any ideas for how to make these ideas more prevalent?

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    • I think that instead of just a "blackness that took out the light" you should use something with more of a form; like a smoke or a cloud or a mist. Have that be a sort of physical side affect of the incomprehensible. Or even just mention it as a thing that's going on unrelated. "It's so misty" or something. 

      If you want to expand on the depressive and the lonely aspects of the narrators life at the time of the story; look up the symptoms of depression and lack of mental stimulation (loneliness can basically drive you insane quite physically) and apply them in your story. That should add some meat. 

      Add up the narrators reminscing about things from the past when everything was fine, maybe a bit where he talks to himself, gets lost in the conversation with himself - appearing to be talking to something or someone only to later reveal to us that he is indeed talking to himself. 

      Stuff like that. 

      You have to keep in mind that these big cosmological events won't be noticable to individuals, we might see their onset but we won't make it by the time of their true unvolding; because we're bound to die as a result of one or another consequence of these cosmological events. That's why I suggested a more localized event to play out in the background. I mean, someone might notice when their home planet is torn away from the gravitational pull of their start but they won't make it to the end of galaxy because the lack of gravitational stability will either hurl that planet into another heavenly body or into isolation which will freeze said planet completely.

      Otherwise the story is pretty good, the tone and the pace are fine; the idea is pretty soild and the presentation is rather good.

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    • Thank you! I like your ideas as well

      And to the last part about cosmological events: yes, I know that it is not realistic, it was just the inspiration.

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    • A FANDOM user
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