So, uh, hi. I guess I need help with the prologue and the first chapter. Yeah yeah, it is 2000 words long, sorry.
I wanna know if both the content and formatting are right. Or, failing that, just critque whatever you want. I hope I am posting this in the right way:
He walked aimlessly through the corridors. The light that came through the windows was faint at best. He didn’t know why, but he knew that he had to be on the move, or else he’d be dead. The setting was unfamiliar to him. He ignored how he had ended up in there, or what was his purpose, but the feeling of dread was all too familiar for him.
Suddenly, he heard footsteps. Where they coming from behind him, or were they approaching him from the front? He couldn’t tell. The only viable choice was to run.
Because you know you’re clearly the prey here. Running is all you have left.
It was hard to make out the correct way for him to go. All of the corridor’s walls were colored black, and so were the floors. The footsteps were coming closer, and he still couldn’t tell whether they were chasing him, or if he was just running towards them. It was like that story that his father used to tell him. It was an old urban legend, probably made to scare kids who liked to hang out in the streets at night. According to the legend, an old man had sold his soul to the devil, so that he could be truly undetectable. His father had omitted the reason for which the old man needed to be undetectable, but it could be inferred.
The old man had then been cursed to wander the streets of the city, kidnapping children. The children’s parents couldn’t do anything about it, and the police weren’t much help either, his father used to say. The rumors said that the man could change shapes, so that he could pretend to be an old friend or a relative. They also said that no one could ever tell when he was near, since he was unable to make a noise, though some people said that whenever a cold breeze was blowing in the night, it meant the old man was near.
So stay indoors when it gets dark, sonny, because if you think that’s scary, well, you haven’t seen what he does to the little kids after he gets them.
That’s what the old folks used to tell their kids to scare them, but his father focused on another thing entirely. Old Jonathan Beckett had plenty of ways to ensure that his son stayed indoors, some of them fun, some of them terrifying. He didn’t need an old tale to do the work for him. No, the reason why he told the tale was to teach his son another lesson. That you could never be sure of other people’s intentions. You could never be quite certain that no person in the world meant you any harm, not even if they were family. Hell, according to his father, you couldn’t even trust yourself completely to do things right. One moment you think that you know how things are going to play out, and the next, you end up walking into a trap brought by your own hubris.
So listen to me, Max. Don’t you ever trust someone completely. Especially your loved ones. You might get some nasty surprises. You will never have all the answers in the world either, and that’s fine. Only a fool thinks that he’s got the bull by the horns.
For some reason, he found himself thinking of this as he ran from the approaching footsteps.
As he accelerated his pace, he started to hear the whispers. He had heard them before, but he didn’t remember. He couldn’t hear what they were saying. For all he knew, they could be speaking in arcane tongues, some Mandarin or Cantonese, Latin, or worse, Portuguese. Try as he might, however, they kept getting louder, like they were in his head. He knew by the intonation that they were asking him questions. They sure seemed to be some important questions, since they sounded angry, and only got more aggressive as time went on. He needed to get out of here, he needed to escape the footsteps, before this madness continue—
… And then he saw it. Standing against a window, there was that dark figure. It was tall, yes, but it looked… Imposing
. It seemed to notice him too, but instead of running towards him, it walked slowly, taking it’s time. In other circumstances, he would have run, just like he told himself after watching too many horror movies where the characters were incapable of running when they saw the monster (but they sure were good at screaming and tripping). However, try as he might, he was physically incapable of moving his legs. Was his mind frozen? Or was the creature somehow keeping him locked in place?
As the creature grew closer, he could make out some of its features. The red eyes, almost like looking for blood, and that face
. It looked so familiar, but at the same time so alien to him! There surely was something that didn’t fit, even among this madness. But he couldn’t waste time on the details now. The creature was itching closer and closer…
He realized fortunately that this had to be a dream. But how could he exit the dream? He had to awaken somehow, but he was at a loss on how to achieve it. Sleep had been his sanctuary many times in the past. He had never learned how to escape in those rare moments where his sanctuary became a prison instead.
It was only after the creature laid his hands on him, after he felt an excruciating pain like no other person had ever felt, that he woke up, still feeling the phantom pain in his chest.
Pelham Street, Umbra City
11: 57 P.M.
As expected, he was still in his apartment. He took a moment to ponder on what had just happened. As the blurry images came to his mind, he started remembering. He realized he was lying on the couch, probably after he sat down to watch some T.V.
The whole apartment was dark, except for the light of the television, of course. He decided to sit up, and try to at least get some sleep on his own bed, since there was a bad day ahead of him. His whole back ached, probably due to the awful position. It didn’t just ache, it stung; most likely to a nerve or something like that. He made a mental note to remind himself to get a massage tomorrow.
Yeah, and how do you plan to afford that? Hm?
It didn’t matter, he would take care of that tomorrow. He looked at the table in front of him. The dirty remains of his dinner (Chinese food) lay there. He felt tempted to just leave it there and clean it tomorrow, but he knew very well that, even in his shithole of an apartment, roaches and mice would not be welcome. He reached out to grab the discarded food when something caught his eye: he had received a new message on his phone. He reached out to look at it. He did not recognize the number, but it definitely seemed directed at him. The Message read:
“You will find her in Aeterna High School, Max. Go there, now. If not, you, and everyone else, will be dead.”
Since it was obviously directed at him, or someone named like him, it could not be a simple coincidence. The message had been sent a few minutes ago, apparently. Aeterna High School had been the same one he had attended, but he didn’t know who the hell was “her”, or “everyone else” for that matter.
Max finished cleaning up the mess in the living room, which had not taken him long. He looked at his phone again. It was an old model, one of those phones that served also as a wristwatch. He had never quite liked the newer models, anyway, and he hadn’t been planning on doing the surgery to install the “phone program” in his head. Not because he thought that companies were out to make killer cyborgs, but because the technology was still brand new, and he wanted to wait a while. Well, that, and having a phone in his head wasn’t exactly what an anonymous life needed. Heck, even if he wanted those things, he didn’t have the money to buy them, so he didn’t have any choice in the matter anyway.
The message seemed urgent. He had answered anonymous messages and calls in the past, with varying results. He looked outside the window of his apartment. The streets were empty, and the area where his school was had always been empty, since it was a particularly isolated one. The message was clearly a death threat, and if they knew his number, they probably knew his address.
“So there’s your plan, Max”, he thought to himself. “Go out, in the middle of the night, to a location somebody with intentions to kill you told you to go. Not to mention, it’s your creepy High School, an isolated area where you can’t call for help
. Not to mention, what kind of help would you expect? Cops are out of the question. Shit, if you go, you have a high chance of fucking the whole operation you worked so hard for.”
He brushed aside those thoughts. The “operation”, if it could even be called that, had been going nowhere. This person clearly knew who he was, despite being as careful as possible. Not to mention, he wasn’t the only one who had been threatened. Those other people…
They could mean his family, or old friends. It could mean anybody, and their lives depended upon him to go there. He had to make sure that this wasn’t a prank, or if the person who sent the message knew anything about him. He called the number.
No one answered.
“Great”, he thought bitterly. Maybe it was the late hour paranoia that always seemed to set in at night (living alone does so many wonders for the mind), but the message was unnerving him, more than it should have. There were so many ways this could go wrong. But, at the same time, so many things that could happen if he didn’t go to the school.
He sighed. “I know I’m going to regret having ever done this.”
This could be a prank, idiot. Some fucker trying to mess with you.
“Nobody with intentions to ‘mess with me’ has my number. The few people who have it know about my situation. Not to mention, they’re mostly family.”
He went to his room. It was messy, to say the least, with crumpled clothes all over the floor. Among them, he recognized his favorite blue jacket. He took it, figuring that it might help him blend in, thanks to the darkness outside. From his old desk, he took that old flashlight he never used.
However, he knew he needed something else. The streets at this hour weren’t secure, especially if one planned to be moving among them by foot. He searched among his old trunk, hoping to find that switchblade his father had given him when he was fifteen. Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on his side. He had probably lost it when he had moved.
He stood up, thinking. Even with all the planning, he had never had the idea to pack a weapon, or at least something to defend himself with. Sure, he wasn’t the best of fighters, but surely he must have had something to fight with in case of an emergency…
“Wait”, he thought to himself. “Of course. The bracers. I can’t even remember where my goddamn stuff is in my own house. Pretty swell, Max, pretty damn swell.”
He searched inside his closet, where he found a small black box. Opening it, he found what he was looking for: a pair of Knuckle Bracers. He had bought them probably three years ago, when he was still practicing boxing. Sure, he hadn’t continued his practices, but he knew the essentials. If someone came at him with gun, though, he would probably end up dead or without money.
With all that taken care of, he opened the door of his apartment in the Triage Building. Maybe if he hurried up, he could still find a bus that could take him closer to the Aeterna High School.
Max Beckett went out into the streets. There was a cold breeze blowing.
EDIT: Shoot, forgot that italics don't work the same way in here. Fixing that, right now.
EDIT 2: Done, now it should be readable. Sorry.
edited 21st Aug '12 12:18:26 AM by Polarity
Really don't understand you humans... All of you slaves to short-term rewards.