View Full Version : Not Redwall, but I want critique

June 23rd, 2008, 01:28 PM
The Thing kicked sullenly at the floor, and stared around gloomily. A rat scuttled across the floor, carrying in its mouth the remains of the Thing’s breakfast. He sighed, unhappily, running a hand over his scaly arms.
The Thing didn’t know how long he’d been here. He couldn’t remember being anywhere else. There was a door, at the top of the Stairs. He’d had to come through there at one point, but when? And when would he get back out through there again? What was on the other side of the Door? There were others over there, he knew. Other living creatures that screamed and called him ‘thing’. Other living creatures that had locked him down here.
He was bored. Painfully, utterly, completely bored. When had he not been bored? There was nothing in his prison that made good entertainment. Even the rats were afraid of him. He would approach them, holding out a morsel of meat, silently calling to them in grunts. The rats would crawl up and grab the meat, but never would stay close and be stroked. They bit his clumsy fingers, taking delight in drawing blood. Then, he’d curl up on his mattress and weep, sucking the injured fingers.
The Thing hadn’t bothered with the rats today. They were cruel creatures who only wanted to ridicule him. They laughed when they bit his fingers, when he lay on his bed and wept.
The Thing rose from his mattress to climb the stairs. His empty dinner place was still there, and the rats congregated on it scattered as he approached. He crouched by it, staring at the door. Maybe it would open. It didn’t.
He pulled up the flap of the cat-door which they pushed the food through. It was a window to the World beyond the Door. He sometimes saw the legs and feet of other people, but never a face. He heard their voices. Sometimes when they talked, their voices were loud and harsh, especially when they spoke of the Monster, or the Thing. He knew they were talking about him, and it was frightening. After hearing these, he would creep from the door, quivering.
Sometimes, though, when they spoke to each other, their voices were soft and sweet. They spoke of “love” then, and he gathered that they said it about each other. He often heard the phrase, “I love you”, and although he didn’t know what it meant, he wanted it said about him, too.
Today, the Thing watched a small pair of legs running back and forth across the floor in front of him. The feet kicked a ball across the floor, and a voice laughed. Somehow, though, the legs lost their footing, and the little girl fell. He looked her straight in the face, and she looked back. For a moment, she didn’t say a word. Then, she smiled.
“Hello,” she said, waggling her fingers at him, “I’m not aloud to talk to you,” she lowered her voice to a whisper, “They say you’re dangerous,” the Thing did not understand most of her speech. He was just glad to be spoken too. He reached a long, scaly arm out of the cat door. She took his hand, shook it, and let go. The Thing thought he would faint. No-one had ever touched his hand before. Quickly, he withdrew it. He carefully examined it, to see if her touch had changed anything. It hadn’t, but he could still feel her hand on his.
“My name is Lenore,” the girl continued, “What’s yours?” the Thing opened his mouth and tried to make coherent speech, but nothing came out but a grunt.
“Oh, you can’t talk? And you haven’t got a name? They call you Thing up here,” Lenore said thoughtfully, “But you need a name,” she paused, her little face scrunched up in thought, “I know, I’ll call you Eddy!”
“Ed-dy? He said the name slowly, and then repeated it more quickly, “Eddy,” He liked the sound of it. Eddy. He said it aloud again, to make sure of its existence. A smile crept across Lenore’s face.
“It’s a good name,” she decided. She looked around quickly, “I gotta go. Mom an’
Dad’ll find out that I’ve talked to you, an’ I’ll be in trouble. I’ll come back, though. It’s Christmas Eve,” she explained, “Santa will come tonight, and he won’t forget you!” Lenore jumped up. Eddy watched her feet walk away. He sighed, wishing that he had understood more of her speech. He hoped she’d come back. She said she would, he’d understood that much. There was no use waiting here at the door though. If Lenore did come back, it wouldn’t be soon. It might not even be today.
He was right. Lenore didn’t show up again that night, but along with the raw meat that was his supper was something else. They were round and tasted very different from meet. They had a sweet, lingering taste, that almost made him gag at first, but then he rather liked it. He ate them slowly, savoring every bite. Eddy felt, for the first time in his short existence, contentment. It wasn’t really happiness, but he felt, for once, at peace. He had made a friend, and had eaten a good meal. When he settled down to sleep that night, his crying stopped sooner, and the nightmares seemed less horrible.
When he woke the next morning, he hurried to the door, and peaked through his opening. The house was dimly lit, and grey with shadow. His breakfast hadn’t been delivered yet, but he heard soft voices from another part of the World beyond the Door. There was laughter and squeals from Lenore, and quiet affirmations of love from the other voices. In vain, Eddy tried to open the basement door, rattling the knob with all his strength. He called out, pounding on the door. Nobody came.
He climbed to the bottom of the stairs again, and sat on the basement floor. Presently, a brown rat crawled past him. As it passed, it stopped to study his face. Slowly, Eddy reached out a hand to the rat. Maybe this one would be different. Maybe it wouldn’t bite him. It did. It bit harder than any other rat had before. It sunk its teeth into his finger so deeply, that no amount of shaking would get it off. In a moment of inspiration, he raised his hand painfully, and smacked it with all his might against the wall. The rat screeched, and there was a grisly cracking sound. The teeth released his finger. Sucking the bleeding finger, he peered at the rat. Its body was mangled and red, but its eyes were open. The spark of intelligence was gone from its eyes, but they were still open. They still stared and leered at him. With a cry of horror, he retreated up the stairs to cower by the door.
Dejectedly, he flopped down on his top step, listening to the happy voices that were still coming from an unseen room. What could they be doing, he wondered. He sat there for a while, leaning against the door. In a little while, the cat door was pushed open, and his food fell into his lap. He chewed the meat thoughtfully, not really noticing the taste. When he had finished the meat, he peered through the little door, into the house.
There were pair of legs outside his door. He stuck his hand out and reached up to the person, whoever it was. A soft hand grasped his.
“Merry Christmas, Eddy,” A voice whispered.
“Lenore,” he said slowly, his tongue unaccustomed to speech. She had come back. Eddy smiled, which gave his face a warm feeling he had never felt before. Lenore bent down to see his face. She smiled at him, and pressed a finger to her lips.
“Shhh. I can’t stay long, but I wanted to wish you Merry Christmas.” She squeezed his hand again. Then, she let it fall, and stood up. Eddy left his hand lying there on the floor, savoring the last remnants of her touch.
As he watched, another pair of legs walked into the room.

June 23rd, 2008, 01:34 PM
“Lenore!” the voice was booming, “Come away from there!” Arms reached down and swept the girl up, and a heavy foot was slammed down on Eddy’s hand. He cried out and gingerly withdrew the crushed hand through the door. His fingers throbbed, but there was no blood. The bite had stopped bleeding too. But it hurt. It hurt like a thousand rat bites, all over his hand and all at once. He felt as if the hand was going to fall off. Maybe it would. Then, at least, there’d be no pain. Sucking his wounded fingers, he slipped down the stairs, and dragged himself to his mattress.
Eddy threw himself on the mattress, staring blankly at the cement ceiling. He wasn’t tired, but there was really nothing else to do. He was done with the rats. Many hours passed in silence. The pain had subsided now. Nothing was left, save a dull ache. His hand hadn’t fallen off after all. Or had it? He wiggled his fingers. No, it was still there, luckily. More time passed, and he still lay motionless on the bed. After a while, he got up and pace feverishly, until his legs were sore and tired, and he could barely move.
He flopped down on the mattress, and stared at the ceiling some more. The grey shadows were fading to black. His loneliness seemed worse at night. That’s when the rats were most active. He could hear them whispering and squeaking together, joking and laughing. For some reason he could not explain, the sound of them brought tears to his eyes, and he sobbed.
What was this feeling that overcame him when he heard these rats talking amongst themselves? It was the same emotion as when he heard the Upstairs people speak of ‘love’. It was the same that kept him up weeping through the night. It was the feeling of being so terribly alone, the longing to be spoken to. More than anything, he wanted someone to speak of ‘love’ to him. And in thinking of that longing, he cried harder still.
Eddy was unsure how long he had been lying there, when a noise came from Upstairs. He dried his eyes, and listened carefully. The noise was coming from the stairs. Immediately, Eddy leaped from the mattress onto the cold, concrete floor. The noise came closer, and a small beacon of light came around the corner.
It was Lenore. At first, Eddy thought she was actually glowing, until he noticed the light came from something clutched in her hands. The rats scattered into their holes as the light fell on them. Lenore, taking no notice of them, stepped forward.
“Hi,” she said, breathlessly, “I’ve brought cookies,” she held out a plate, and sat down on his mattress, still clutching the stick of glowing light. When Eddy reached out to touch it, she drew it back, saying:
“It’s a candle, you’ll burn yourself, silly. I’m not aloud to touch Mom’s candles, actually, but there so much cooler than a flashlight. Besides, in all the books I read, people use candles to sneak around at night,” Eddy still didn’t understand, but he didn’t argue. He nibbled at a cookie, resisting the urge to devour it in one bite. While they ate, Lenore chattered endlessly. Eddy enjoyed listening to her. He drank in every syllable, turning the sounds over in his mind.
Soon, Lenore jumped off the bed, and began to walk across the floor.
“I gotta go. It’s late,” She began to ascend the stairs, Eddy close behind her. When they reached the top, she reached out a hand to open the door.
“Lenore,” Eddy grabbed her arm, trying to hold her back. Why was she going to leave him?
“Let go, Eddy,” the girl wrenched her arm away. As she did so, she lost her footing, and fell backward down the stairs, the candle flying out of her hands. It landed on the stairs, and the flickering light crept from the candle to the stairs, growing larger and larger each minute that he stood staring at it. With a loud cry he raced down the stairs.
Lenore was lying prostrate on the hard floor. A creeping red puddle was gathering around her head.
“Lenore!” He placed a hand to her face and stared into her vacant eyes. They were vacant like the rats had been; vacant and staring. They were not the eyes of a living creature. Meanwhile, the puddle of red grew larger. Eddy shook the body with inhuman cries, sobbing and yelling, trying to wake the girl. But it was to no avail, she never moved.
A curious rat crawled from its hole and came over to sniff the body. It crawled on the girl, its whiskers twitching furiously. Its red mouth opened into a hideous grin, and it sank its teeth into the girls arm. Eddy knocked the rat to the ground with a strong swipe, and bent down to pick up Lenore. The body was limp, her head and limbs hung from his arms. He had to take her Upstairs. The other people could help her. He was almost able to make himself believe that.
Eddy turned around to climb the stairs. They were now almost completely consumed with the light. Without even hesitating, Eddy dashed into it. A searing hot pain immediately filled his body, but he didn’t stop for an instant. Pain wouldn’t kill him. It hadn’t killed him yet. In an instant, he had reached the door. Lenore had left it open, thankfully. The blaze was spreading to the Room Beyond the door. Black smoke billowed from the fire, and Eddy couldn’t see anything except red flame and black smoke. The colors melded together and stung his eyes. Above the cruel laughing of the fire, a shrill bell was ringing.
Eddy stumbled blindly in one direction, hoping it was the right way. Each step seemed to cost him more pain than the last. The fire would not leave his skin, but kept eating at him, licking further up his body. He had to hurry, or it would eat Lenore too. So despite the pain, he began to run.
Soon he came to another door. It was larger than the door that had guarded his prison, and it was white. Exhaustedly, he turned the knob and wrenched open the door. After this, there was a lighter door, made of metal. He pushed that one open too, and stumbled outside.
He was met by cold air. Strange, white flakes fell around him. They sizzled as they fell around his flaming body. Running forward, he tripped down a short flight of stairs, his bare feet freezing in the white material on the ground.
A scream came from behind him.
“Put my daughter down, you monster!” Lenore was wrenched from his hands by a large man with an angry voice. Unable to stand any longer, Eddy fell to the ground, and stared at the sky. The man, clutching his daughter, ran from the house and across the street. Another pair of feet stepped over him as he lay smoldering on the ground. The falling snow had put out his flaming body, but he was badly burnt and barely breathing. It would be so easy to stop. Breathing hurt too much to be worth doing.
But he head to know: was Lenore alright? Was she alive? Was he even alive? Eddy didn’t know. The pain was still eating him. But this would all be worth it if Lenore had lived. How would he know?
After this, many loud noises and flashing colors seemed to be all around him. There was shouting, and a sound of blasting water. Eddy heard the man with the loud voice talking to another man.
“This creature started the fire,” the Loud Voiced man said, but his voice seemed weak and sad.

June 23rd, 2008, 01:36 PM
“What is it?” the other voice answered.
“It- it was my son. But it is not human, whatever it is. It came from my wife, scaly and clawed. It didn’t cry like normal children, it growled and grunted. The nurses, they wanted to kill the thing and be rid of it forever. But I…I,” his voice grew softer and became nothing. When he did begin to speak again, his voice quivered, “I couldn’t kill him. He was my son, my wife birthed him. We hid him from the world. He grew in the basement. Every day he grew older and more savage. All was going well though, we had a daughter. Her name was…Lenore,” here the man stopped again and gave a shuddering sigh that was almost a sob, “The monster was jealous. He murdered my daughter and destroyed my house!” Eddy heard no more. He had heard enough. Lenore was dead. If the man’s words hadn’t given him away, the hatred in his voice had. It was all over now. With one last breath, Eddy closed his eyes, and let go of what little life he had left.