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 Shadowman, Chapter III

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Shea Ballard



Posts : 53
Join date : 2012-11-28

PostSubject: Shadowman, Chapter III   Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:38 pm

Chapter III: The Betrayal

“Hello!” Jade yelled. She was in absolute and complete darkness. Without warning, torches lit and Jade could see she was in a cave. Stalactites and stalagmites formed obstacles every few feet. Off in the distance the cave opened up into various passages. Slowly she crept through the cavernous room, once stepping in a puddle of water heavy with sediment. She swore and shook the liquid off her shoe, then looked up and noticed strange writing on the walls. It was in a language with which she was unfamiliar.
“Hello!” A heavy gust suddenly blew through the cave, putting out the torches. Jade was again plunged into total darkness. She screamed.
Panicked, she abruptly said something that sounded strange even to her own ears. “I need you, Iblis. Where are you?”
“I’m here, Jade.”
Jade turned quickly toward the direction of the voice and saw a pair of glowing red eyes. She screamed…
And woke up. Breathing hard and in a cold sweat, she forgot where she was for a moment. Then she recognized Crystal’s house and remembered the slumber party. Jade found herself lying on her back on the cold, hard wood floor. Crystal was cuddled up next to her, an arm draped around her and with a hand placed suspiciously close to one of Jade’s breasts. She removed Crystal’s arm and sat up, a little too quick. She was rewarded with a pounding headache.

Jade had no memory of the previous night’s events. As it turned out, neither did Crystal or Ruby. They had all had way too much to drink and were also nursing terrible hangovers. Amber, on the hand, recalled everything. She had only taken little sips of her punch and had not even finished her first cup.
Once all the girls were awake, Crystal brewed them a pot of coffee. Jade was sipping at hers, trying to come back to life, when Amber pulled her aside for a private chat.
“How are you feeling?”
“Terrible. I have such a headache.” She took a sip of her coffee. “I don’t remember anything.” She looked up at Amber. “Was it a good party?”
Amber laughed. “It was certainly an interesting one. I’ll say that much.”
“What did we do?”
“Well, we drank a lot, ate pizza, you made out with Crystal.”
Jade groaned. “Oh, God.” She sat down her coffee and lowered her face in her hands. When she looked up again, she asked, “Didn’t I say I wasn’t gonna do that?”
“Yes, you did. You remember that much, at least. Well, you weren’t drunk yet then.”
Amber paused. She seemed to be pondering something. This was not lost on Jade.
Jade swallowed hard and asked, “What else?”
Amber took a deep breath. She sighed loudly. “We…played ‘Never Have I Ever.’” She winced, waiting for inevitable follow-up question.
“Uh, oh. What did I say?”
“You admitted to liking Adam.”
Jade froze. She held her breath a few seconds, and then let it out. She could feel her face getting warm again and the sweat start to bead on her forehead. Even now, though, she could not admit her true feelings, not even to her best friend.
“Stop making things up, Amber. I already told you, I don’t like him.”
“But you said so last night. You were getting raunchy. You wanted to tell us about all the things you want to do to him.”
“That’s enough!” Jade suddenly yelled. The other two girls, who were off having their own conversation, looked up. Jade lowered her voice. “Look,” she continued, “alcohol’s a truth-serum, right? Well, I know I wouldn’t have said what you said I did ‘cause it’s not the truth. I don’t like him, Amber. That’s that. Now, let’s talk about something else.”

Jade came home to a sad, but all too familiar scene. Her mother was sprawled out on the couch, an empty bottle of vodka lying next to her. Some of its contents had leaked out, forming a puddle on the floor.
“Oh, shit,” Jade said. “What the hell happened?” She went over to the couch and knelt next to her mother. “Mom, wake up.” Jade shook her mother and she started to stir.
“Jade, is that you?”
“It’s me, mom. What happened?”
“I passed out on the couch.”
“I see that. What happened to Richard?”
“He left. Got an important business call on his cell phone. Men. Always married to their work. What a dick.”
I’m sorry, mom. Can I make you some coffee?”
“No, sweetie, thank you. Can you help me up to my room? I think I just want to sleep for a while.”
“Sure, mom.”
Jade helped her mother up off the couch and practically carried her upstairs. Not feeling great herself, Jade struggled with each step. Her head was still pounding. Finally, she made it upstairs and tucked her mother into bed.
“Can I get you anything else, mom?”
“No, sweetie. Thank you.”
“Goodnight, mom. I love you.”
“Goodnight, Jade. I…”
“Love you, too.”
Her mother was already asleep. Seeing how Jade hadn’t gotten much sleep and was suffering a hangover of her own, she decided a nap was a good idea. She took some Tylenol for her headache and then lay down in her own bed. She pulled the covers over her and was asleep within seconds.

Jade awoke Sunday morning feeling much better. Her hangover had gone and she felt finally fully rested. She had only napped briefly the previous day and felt run down the whole time. An early bed time and a good night’s sleep had made all the difference. To top it all off, she woke up in a good mood. She had been having a great dream about Adam and was fondly recalling every detail. She jotted what she could remember in her dream diary.
The experience of writing made her feel creative and she decided to compose a new poem. She sat down at her desk, retrieved another notebook, and began to write. This one seemed to come quick and easy. It almost wrote itself. When she finished, Jade looked her work over. It read:

Mine Forever
By Jade O’Mara
I wake and I think of you,
Your face in my head.
I sleep and I dream of you,
Again and again.
I can’t knock you out of my brain.
My mind’s in a haze.
My soul is on fire,
Day after day.
You invade my space.
My boundaries are gone.
You push into my life,
So hard and so strong.
I can’t eat. I can’t sleep.
I can’t think. I can’t breathe.
Your grip on my heart
Overwhelms me.
Take me, I’m yours,
Body and soul.
The spell that you’ve cast,
Has taken its toll.
I want you. I need you.
I love you. I’ll have you.
Come to me now.
Let me show what I can do.
You’re already mine.
You just don’t know it, yet.
I’ll be with you soon.
On that, you can bet.
When the time is right,
You’ll be my lover.
And you’ll be mine,
Forever and ever.

Satisfied, Jade smiled and closed the notebook. She placed it back in its drawer and then went downstairs for breakfast.

Monday came soon enough. Jade twirled furiously in class. It took every ounce of her willpower not to look at Adam, but she succeeded. She did not want to risk getting caught by Amber again, who seemed to be paying close attention to her. Jade could feel Amber’s eyes on her the entire fifty minutes of class. Finally, the bell rang and the two shuffled out into the hallway.
As they emptied out of the classroom, Jade forced herself not to follow Adam with her eyes. She kept them locked on Amber as they walked to their lockers.
“How was your weekend?” asked Amber.
“Well, Saturday was kinda blah. I felt sick the whole day.”
“Gee, I wonder why?”
“Yeah, whatever. Anyway, yesterday was pretty good. I was feeling a lot better. How was your weekend?”
As Amber talked about her weekend, Jade saw something out of the corner of her eye that caught her attention. She was actually not trying to look at Adam, but what she saw him doing made her heart skip a beat. He was talking to Ruby. Worst of all, she was talking to him.
Jade’s eyes were locked on Ruby. She watched as she smiled at him, while playing nervously with her fiery red hair. For his part, Adam seemed to be enjoying her company, too. He smiled as he spoke. He made good eye contact. Though they did not touch, the pair seemed to be standing way too close together for Jade’s comfort.
As she watched, Jade could feel the blood drain from her head. Her face turned ghost white and she began to feel dizzy. Her stomach seemed to rise up into her throat. She felt nauseous. None of this was lost on Amber.
“What did you expect would happen? You’ve never spoken to him, even once. He’s a cute boy. She’s a pretty girl. She’s willing to talk to him. That could be you, if you had just opened your mouth and said ‘hello,’ or something.”
Jade could feel tears welling up in her eyes. She could not turn around and deny everything this time. Her reaction spoke for itself. One would have to be blind not to see what was going on right now. Jade could not recall ever having felt so vulnerable in her life. Her nausea increased. She had to get away. As Amber started to say something else, Jade took off running toward the girls’ bathroom. Once there, she found an empty stall and vomited in the toilet. She then sat down and sobbed loudly.

Amber soon came into the bathroom after Jade and offered her comfort. She stayed with her friend until she was able to walk with her to the nurse’s office. Once there, Jade called her mother at work and told her she was sick.
“I think I have the flu or something,” Jade had said.
Her mother was pissed off she had to leave work early to come pick Jade up.
“You always pick the most inconvenient times to get sick. I was in the middle of a meeting when you called.”
The rest of the car ride home was spent in silence. Jade was glad of that. She had a headache and felt completely drained.
When they arrived home, Jade’s mother sent her daughter straight to her room.
“I want you in bed,” she yelled up to Jade as she climbed the stairs. “If you’re really sick, that’s where you should be.”
Jade wasn’t about to argue. She truly did feel ill and couldn’t wait to get into her bed. Her mother, on the other hand, headed straight for her liquor cabinet. She put on a good show yelling at her daughter, but Jade knew better. She understood full well her mom was secretly happy to be pulled away from work. Now she could start drinking earlier than usual.
As soon as she got to her room, Jade laid down on her bed. Immediately after, the waterworks started again. Alone with her thoughts once more, all she could do was cry. She kept seeing the scene replayed in her mind again and again. The way Ruby smiled and laughed, the sparkle in her eyes as she looked at him, the way she nervously touched her face and her hair, how close they stood to each other, they way she kept licking her lips – all but asking for him to kiss her, all of this and more played itself out in a continuous loop in her brain, and all in full HD picture and Dolby Surround Sound.
Her heart ached with longing. The jealousy ate at her stomach. The sobs were coming so heavy Jade had trouble catching her breath. The tears made her nose run. Snot dripped out and onto her upper lip, threatening to flow into her mouth. She had to get up momentarily to find some tissues. She blew her nose loudly, and then sniffed up the remaining mucus.
In the midst of her emotional agony, Jade suddenly found a new image coming into her consciousness, a memory. It was from when she was five. A neighbor boy had teased her, called her some nasty names. Little Jade was crying. Someone was with her, comforting her. That someone was just a shadow. A shadow with glowing red eyes. It was the creature from her dreams. This time, though, Jade did not recoil from the image. She let the memory play out.
“Don’t let it bother you, Jade,” said the Shadowman. “He’s just a stupid little boy. He doesn’t know anything.”
“I know,” said little Jade, in between sobs, “but it still hurts. He shouldn’t be so mean to me.”
“I could beat him up for you. If you wish it.”
Little Jade considered the Shadowman’s offer, but only for a second. Her kind heart would not allow her to take vengeance.
“No,” replied little Jade, “I don’t wish that.”
“I’m glad. Remember, Jade, no one can hurt you unless you let them.”
“Thanks, Iblis.” Little Jade wiped away her tears. “I’m glad you’re my friend. I love you.”
Jade had stopped crying when the memory first came to her, but now she could feel fresh tears welling up as she thought of her old, childhood friend. Needing a friend now more than ever, she called out to him.
“Iblis, I need you. Where are you?”
“I’m here, Jade.”
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Angelique Clark

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PostSubject: Re: Shadowman, Chapter III   Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:04 pm

I read this twice because it held so much interest. I really like the dialogue, and you certainly know your characters. A few times I think you told too much action, instead of showing it, like when the girls walked to the nurse's office. The first part of this chapter however, I think you could rework in order for a cleaner start. Example:

She was in absolute and complete darkness (This seemed too dry for a beginning sentence. I think it needs more than two common descriptive words). Without warning, torches lit and Jade could see she was in a cave. Stalactites and stalagmites (you used "and" twice in a row, which is another reason why I think you might alter the above) formed obstacles every few feet. Off in the distance the cave opened up into various passages. Slowly (although this seems to be the only plain adverb you used in the chapter, I'd still find a way to get rid of it.) she crept through the cavernous room[/i]

Then I couldn't help but be caught in "she's" throughout the more later parts of the chapter... I put them in bold:

Her mother was already asleep. Seeing how Jade hadn’t gotten much sleep and was suffering a hangover of her own, she decided a nap was a good idea. She took some Tylenol for her headache and then lay down in her own bed. She pulled the covers over her and was asleep within seconds.

Jade awoke Sunday morning feeling much better. Her hangover had gone and she felt finally fully rested. She had only napped briefly the previous day and felt run down the whole time. An early bed time and a good night’s sleep had made all the difference. To top it all off, she woke up in a good mood. She had been having a great dream about Adam and was fondly recalling every detail. She jotted what she could remember in her dream diary.
The experience of writing made her feel creative and she decided to compose a new poem. She sat down at her desk, retrieved another notebook, and began to write. This one seemed to come quick and easy. It almost wrote itself. When she finished, Jade looked her work over. It read
...etc.

Also, I think a few of your paragraphs are a bit too long. It makes it harder to read, and sometimes you could slice it in half with two different topics anyway.
The concept of your story is very gripping, and I cannot wait to read more.

-Ace
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Shea Ballard



Posts : 53
Join date : 2012-11-28

PostSubject: Re: Shadowman, Chapter III   Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:28 pm

Thanks, Ace. You're good at catching that stuff. I'll definitely have to go back and rework that. I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter. Thanks for reading it.
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Angelique Clark

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PostSubject: Re: Shadowman, Chapter III   Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:44 pm

Thanks for saying so, I was glad I could help.
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