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 Shadowman Chapter VII

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Shea Ballard



Posts : 53
Join date : 2012-11-28

PostSubject: Shadowman Chapter VII   Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:48 am

Chapter VII: The World As It Is

A misty, white fog hung in the air. The scenery was a pale white.
Am I dead? Jade thought
Ruby emerged from the low lying cloud cover. She was still wearing her hospital gown. Her skin was the color of the whitest, cleanest bed linens. Her eyes stared out into space as if in a trance. After a moment she looked at Jade and regarded her.
“Hi, Jade,” she said with a smile on her face and in her voice.
“What happened to you, Ruby?”
“I’m dead.”
“Dead? But how?”
“I hung myself. See?” Ruby pointed to her neck.
It was then that Jade noticed the purple ring around her neck. It looked like the outline of a rope.
“Ruby, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean -”
“Now it’s your turn.”
From out of nowhere Ruby produced a rope tied in a hangman’s noose. Before Jade knew what was happening Ruby threw it around Jade’s neck like a cowboy lassoing a bull. She then slid the knot forward, tightening its grip. Jade struggled to free herself, but Ruby held on like a vice, pulling harder on the rope, squeezing Jade’s windpipe. Jade tried to breath, but couldn’t. She gasped and chocked. She was being strangled to death.

Jade opened her eyes and threw her comforter back. She took in several deep breaths. While she slept she had got her covers over her face. As the CO₂ built up in her brain, she began to feel dizzy, and this was incorporated into her dream. Soon Jade began to breathe more normally. She looked over at her clock and saw that it was only about fifteen minutes before the alarm would go off, so she decided to go ahead and get up.

Jade stepped onto the school bus, like so many times before. As she turned the corner to face her fellow students, she audibly gasped. The other kids looked up at her as though she were mad. Jade looked at them as though she’d seen a ghost. Surrounding every boy and girl on the bus was a corona of colored light. From conversations with Crystal, she knew them to be auras. Crystal claimed to be able to see them. Jade never could. Now they were as obvious as each child’s clothing or hairstyle.
Most of the kids had auras of various mixtures of red, orange and yellow. Two students had green auras, and a single boy displayed one of bright gold. Many had quite a bit of gray mixed in. Jade thought she could remember Crystal saying that that indicated stress in a person. That made sense to her, high school students having stress. Jade thought that her aura must be all gray, though strangely enough she could not see her own.
Jade sat down and phoned Amber. She told her friend about her dream and asked if Ruby was okay. Amber assured her that, to the best of her knowledge, Ruby was still alive and well.
“Well, could you check and make sure?”
Amber said that she would and Jade ended the call. She sat back and shut tight her eyes. She did not want to see the auras anymore.

Jade played with her food. She did not feel much like eating. She squeezed her eyes shut again, trying to will the auras to disappear. She opened them again, and could still the see the multi-colored lights surrounding each student.
“Are you okay, Jade?” asked Amber.
“Yeah, fine.”
“You don’t look so good.”
“I just have a headache, that’s all.”
Crystal leaned forward and said to Jade in a conspiratorial whisper, “I have some Motrin in my locker. You want one?”
“Yeah, good idea,” replied Jade with enthusiasm. In truth, she did not have a headache at all, but figured the Motrin might numb her up a bit and make her forget the auras.
“Crystal!” said Amber in a low voice. “You’d better hope no one finds out you have drugs in your locker.”
“I won’t let administration tell me I can’t keep perfectly legal medication in my locker.”
“But still, it’s awfully risky. You could get suspended, or even expelled.”
Crystal ignored Amber’s warnings. She put on a look of defiance and turned her attention back to Jade. “When lunch is over, walk to my locker with me. I’ll give you some.”
“Thanks, Crystal.”
“Hey, what are friends for?”
Jade smiled, then continued playing with her food. Soon her attention turned to Adam, who was sitting a few tables over. She stared longingly at him.
“You’re staring at him again, aren’t you?” asked Amber.
“Yes,” Jade admitted.
“When are you gonna let him go?”
“He could’ve been mine.”
“Yeah, maybe if you had ever talked to him.”
“I know.”
Amber gave Jade a quizzical look. “This is odd. You’re admitting something’s your fault? Did you have a sudden epiphany?”
Jade told Amber all about her conversation with Adam. She explained how he told her that no one ever talked to him, and about how Ruby finally did. She bemoaned the fact that Ruby was rewarded for her kindness, that he felt so grateful that someone was finally willing to engage him in conversation. She then told Amber of her reaction when she realized how easy it would have been for her to be the one to be with him. If only, as Amber kept telling her, she would have just had the nerve to talk to him.
“I’m sorry, Jade,” said Amber after Jade finished her story. “I can imagine how hard of a lesson this was for you to learn.”
“He could’ve been mine. He should’ve been mine.” She looked back up at him. She saw him talking with a small group of kids. Apparently, Ruby’s courage inspired others. Jade imagined herself sitting there, talking easily, smiling, happy, laughing at all his jokes. As she imagined this, Jade began to cry.
Crystal then stood up, came around to the other side of the table, and put an arm around Jade. For a few minutes, Jade sobbed and hugged her friend. Others looked around wondering what all the drama was about. The girls ignored them.
Finally, Jade said, “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” replied Crystal. “You’ve nothing to be sorry about.”
The bell rang, signaling the end of lunch.
“Can we go get that Motrin now?”

The bell rang. Jade and Amber stepped out of class and into the hall. Adam shuffled out and walked past them, Jade’s eyes following him.
“Are you gonna be okay?” asked Amber.
Jade’s eyes came back to Amber. “Yeah, fine. I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, I’m…feeling better. Crystal’s…uh…Motrin. I’m. It’s working. I’m feeling better now.”
“Good. So I don’t have to worry about you the rest of the day?”
Jade shook her head.
“Can I call you later?”
“Yeah.” Jade nodded. “Later.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll wait ‘til after Spongebob.”
Jade smiled, and let out a small laugh. “Yeah, after Spongebob.” The two stood silently for a moment, then Jade added, “Thanks, Amber.” She hugged her friend, which caught Amber a bit off guard.
“You’re welcome.”
Finally, Jade broke off the embrace and said, “Gotta go to class. Bye.”
She walked off and headed in the direction of her next class. Amber headed off to hers. The halls were thinning out now, as students rushed off to their appropriate classrooms. The bell was due to ring again in less than a minute. Jade strode off to class, trying to make it on time. As she breezed past a group of boys walking in the opposite direction, she caught something strange out of the corner of her eye. She turned and noticed a pale white figure walking past her. She stared at it. A chill ran down her spine. The figure stopped in its tracks and turned around. It looked to be a small girl, about Jade’s height and build. Something felt wrong. It wasn’t a girl. It was something else. Jade had never seen a ghost before, but she knew it when she saw it. The ghost girl looked right at Jade and smiled - a wide, creepy grin. Jade turned and ran fast toward the nearest bathroom.
She ran into the bathroom and hid in a corner, underneath a machine that dispensed feminine hygiene products. She pulled her legs and arms in close to her body, attempting to look and feel as small as possible. She shook with nervousness. She could feel her heartbeat in her throat, and her breath came in short, quick bursts. She felt tingling in her fingertips and toes, and the blood draining from her head. To combat the feeling of being about to pass out, she stuck her head between her knees and shut tight her eyes. She tried to will away the image of the ghost, but it didn’t work. The specter appeared in her mind’s eye when she closed her own.
“Hi, Jade.”
Jade opened her eyes and stared directly into the face of the spirit.
“My name is Maya,” the dead girl continued. “I’m so glad you can see me.”
Jade did not reply. She tried to focus on her breathing, but found it difficult. She continued to shake with fear. Beads of perspiration formed on her forehead.
“See that pipe?” Maya pointed to a water pipe just below the ceiling. It protruded from one wall and ran to the opposite one. It was thick and appeared sturdy. Jade looked up and studied the pipe as if seeing for the first time.
Maya smiled. “That’s where I hung myself,” she said in a giddy tone.
Jade screamed.
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Angelique Clark

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PostSubject: Re: Shadowman Chapter VII   Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:09 pm

Overall this was a good chapter, though I think it didn't have a solid focus. The first scene with the dream was very well sculpted, and your details are perfect. Though I am wondering why Jade would tell Amber about the dream? Since the nightmare was pretty much all about the guilt she was feeling, which would give away Jade's secret, and trigger questions from her friends.

Anyway, I tried to find the two big problems with the story, and I'm not positive about them. I would suggest you use a little more Adam in the last chapters, since it was almost like she forgot about him completely, and then suddenly she sees him and starts balling. Same with Iblis (sorry if that's the wrong spelling), I thought that there was something missing from this chapter, and I think it was at least a brief mention of him in some form. The aura color thing was rather random, and I didn't exactly see the purpose or reasoning behind it (the same with the ghost)... but perhaps that's just info waiting to come in future chapters?

Here's another thing; avoid using "she" repeatedly. Like in the last few paragraphs, you used "she" at the start of almost every sentence:

As she breezed past a group of boys walking in the opposite direction, she caught something strange out of the corner of her eye. She turned and noticed a pale white figure walking past her. She stared at it.

...

She ran into the bathroom and hid in a corner, underneath a machine that dispensed feminine hygiene products. She pulled her legs and arms in close to her body, attempting to look and feel as small as possible. She shook with nervousness. She could feel her heartbeat in her throat, and her breath came in short, quick bursts. She felt tingling in her fingertips and toes, and the blood draining from her head. To combat the feeling of being about to pass out, she stuck her head between her knees and shut tight her eyes. She tried to will away the image of the ghost, but it didn’t work. The specter appeared in her mind’s eye when she closed her own.
“Hi, Jade.”
Jade opened her eyes and stared directly into the face of the spirit.
“My name is Maya,” the dead girl continued. “I’m so glad you can see me.”
Jade did not reply. She tried to focus on her breathing, but found it difficult. She continued to shake with fear. Beads of perspiration formed on her forehead.


Also, at this sentence, I think you should find some way to nix the double "and" in your descriptions...

She pulled her legs and arms in close to her body, attempting to look and feel as small as possible.

Maybe it could be change to something like...

Jade wrapped her arms around the front of her legs, attempting to become as small as possible.

Again, amazing descriptions, and the dialogue ran smoothly too. Can't wait to read the next chapter!
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Shea Ballard



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Join date : 2012-11-28

PostSubject: Re: Shadowman Chapter VII   Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:33 pm

Thanks, Ace, for your great review. I see your point about over-using "she." I'll have to be more careful about that.

In my mind, Jade told Amber about her dream because she was scared. She feared it was a prophetic dream and wanted reassurance that Ruby was still alive.

The auras and the ghost girl are not random, they are consequences. Each time Jade uses Iblis' power she has to face a paranormal consequence of some sort. In future chapters they will get much worse. This is only the beginning.

Good try on finding my story problems. I'll definitely take your ideas into consideration. As I see it, there are two major problems with this narrative.

The first one is that Jade is acting more like a boy than a girl. This is my fault. It is part of the difficulty of writing a female protagonist for the first time. A girl is not expected to approach a boy she's interested in. As much as I wish it weren't, it's the other way around. I should rewrite it so that Adam approached her first, and Jade froze up. Then he gets the idea she's not interested, or just stuck up.

Also, girls are normally very chummy and share everything with each other. Jade does not. She builds a wall around herself and won't let anyone in. I reasoned that she would act this way since her mom is an alcoholic, and Jade is a budding alcoholic herself. However, I did not research on this and have no idea if this wold be the correct reaction.

Second, when I was thirteen I made friends with a Jewish boy at school. He was not well-liked, partly for being a Jew. Nowadays no one cares about that. Your generation is much less bigoted than mine. Having no one talk to Adam because he's Jewish does not feel realistic to me. I was thinking maybe I should change his name and make him a Muslim, but even then I don't think kids today would automatically shun him. Unless they're like Eric Cartman, of course, but I don't think many in your generation are. Perhaps I need to think of some other reason entirely for Adam to be different. Perhaps you could give me your thoughts on that. You know your age group much better than me. I was fourteen in 1988. Things have changed a bit since then.

Thanks again, Ace, for reading this. I hope to get back to this story at some point. Your input could really help make it much better, and make it feel much more real to the young readers who are my target audience. Can't wait to hear your thoughts.
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Angelique Clark

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PostSubject: Re: Shadowman Chapter VII   Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:55 pm

Yeah, I agree with you on the whole Jade being afraid to talk to Adam thing. That should be changed to make it more realistic to what would actually happen. Secondly, I also agree about him being Jewish, and others shunning him. I have a friend who is Jewish, and she has loads of other friends, Jewish or not. I am Catholic myself, and, as you might gather, hold absolutely nothing against my friend for believing something different. Anyway, what I'm trying to get at here, is that yes, I think you should change the reason why nobody talks to Adam. Being Jewish, or even Muslim, isn't strong enough.

Your story is turning out to be fantastic, even with the detailed errors of the plot. I am really looking forward to reading more!

Also, I just wanted to add that don't stop writing this because there are a few problems built in. I know a rather famous YA author who writes a series for kids my age, and she admits to accidentally making her main character have three different birthdays over the span of her many books. Sometimes it's good to leave a mistake here and there.

Just the same, good luck with it! Smile
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Shea Ballard



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PostSubject: Re: Shadowman Chapter VII   Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:42 pm

Maybe I should make Adam a bod boy, or one with the reputation of being a bad boy. Maybe a loner, too. Perhaps he could be like Christian Slater in Heathers. Or Heath Ledger in Ten Things I Hate About You. Maybe everyone's afraid of him. I'll have to think this over. I'm open to suggestions. What would make a kid a misfit amongst your age group?
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Angelique Clark

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PostSubject: Re: Shadowman Chapter VII   Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:56 pm

You may want to check out wattpad.com (story sharing website) for some ideas on your character Adam. I only say this because Wattpad happens to consists of mostly teenagers my age who aspire to be writers and can post their "books" on the site. The most popular stories are cliche romances, but I usually skim through the many titles just for referencing; like character personalities, names, plot lines, themes, settings, etc. A very useful sharing/writing site if you're writing teen fiction.

A bad boy personality sounds good. If you look into Wattpad, you'll find hundreds of stories based on bad boys and good girls, which nowadays is considered cliche... though in the case of your story, I think not. Your paranormal element certainly throws cliche out the window.

Changing Adam from a lone, somewhat quiet, Jewish boy to a bad boy (frequently entails loudness, rudeness, cockiness, etc) would definitely alter the tone of your story quite a bit, not to mention be an ultimate challenge to re-write (the latter I assume you have no worries on Smile )

Though, if you don't end up going for the bad boy rep., other possible routes could be that he's totally insecure, socially awkward, has some kind of actual mental problem, a nerd maybe?, or even just a jock who, as you came up with, everyone is afraid of. Maybe everyone is scared to talk to him because of his status and build, and he plays along, but deep down wishes they would treat him like everyone else...?

Anyway, that's all I've got. Hope you figure something out; and I'm sure it will be fantastic. Best of luck towards the re-writing.

Have a Happy Easter!

-Ace
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Shea Ballard



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PostSubject: Re: Shadowman Chapter VII   Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:06 am

Great ideas. I have much to think about. Thanks for the website tip. I will check it out.
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