The Writer - Chapter One

Horror story written by ArnWeber on Saturday 22, May 2010

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Unlike my others, I feel this story to be a worthy story.

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Joey! Come on, Joey; you know you remember me. Joey had always been teased about his height. As an adult he stood no less than two inches below the average head of a door frame, but that was only when he didn't hunch. He always hunched, it made him feel shorter and thus, he felt more normal. His hair was always trimmed short, out of fear that it's height would add to his own. His long legs often- Joey! Come to me, my love! -made him one of the better sportsmen during high school: basketball, track & field. He always had been, and still was, too scrawny to play football. At the end of his bed sat a chair on which he kept his feet; they were too long for his bed. He was lying there now, about half-way through a rather hefty book. The bed was in the center of the room, and to the left stood a bookshelf filled many books equally as long as the one he was reading now. On the other side of his bed was an end-table, on which rested two of his most important possessions: the only existent photograph of his mother, and his Bible, beside which sat a clock which read "11:57 PM". He finished the chapter - about ten pages - before the clock reached "12:05 AM', putting the book down on the headboard in whose compartments he stored his clothes before lowering his head onto his pillow and attempting to sleep. Joey! You are a very naught boy! His attempts to sleep were nearly unsuccessful. He had been unable to sleep properly for nearly a week. He had tried everything that he could think of, but never to any avail. The last time he could remember having seen on his digital alarm clock read "3:49 AM' Two hours and eleven minutes later he was abruptly aroused by a very loud, deep beep-beep-beep. He slowly nudged his hand over to the big round button atop the alarm clock which was labelled "snooze'. "6:10 AM', another round of loud beeping noises. This time he turned off the alarm and forced himself out of bed. It was easier for him, now. He had not fallen asleep within the last ten minutes so he was beginning to regain his senses, albeit quite slowly. Alas he reached his bathroom, where he looked at himself in the mirror before turning on the shower. He was observing- Joey! Don't you avoid me, you stupid giant ox! -the bags under his eyes. He shaved after his shower, for which he had to bend down just to get his head under the nozzle. His bathroom, which was hardly large enough for a regular-size man, was stationed across the hall directly opposite his bedroom. To the left of the bedroom was a door which led to the office in which he wrote. He had written a number of stories, mostly only novellas and a few short stories and poems. He had, in addition to his inheritance from his now-deceased older brother, and his regular job at the gas station, quite the flow of income when he managed to sell a story. However, that was the problem: ";when he managed to sell a story' Not everybody was willing to print his stories. The ones of which he was the most proud - the ones into which he placed the most love and care - were often, to his own dismay, the ones that were not accepted. At least he had been published. That was his main goal: first a poem; then a short story; then a novella; then, at last, a novel. He had managed to override the first step in the plan when he sold a mystery-short-story to an up-and-coming magazine from New York. The pay was terrible, of course. Twenty-five dollars and three free issues - the only three more they'd ever print - was all that he received. Yet he treasured it. He hung a copy of the check in a picture frame above his desk in his makeshift office, and he kept the copy of the magazine which contained his story in a drawer directly underneath where he keeps his typewriter. He'd long since stopped using his typewriter, replacing it with a computer, though he kept it nearby primarily for it's nostalgic value. Joey! Listen to me, Joey! I am speaking to you. Would I ever hurt you? Naked, Joey walked to the kitchen where he prepared a bowl of oatmeal and prepared coffee. After breakfast he walked to his bedroom to put on clothes. He stored his pants in the left compartment of his headboard, his shirts in the right compartment; anything that needed to be was hanging in the closet in his office. His socks and underwear were in the drawers of the end-table on which he stored his Bible. At 7:00 AM he left his apartment and walked down the graffiti-filled hall to the stairway; the elevator hadn't worked since long before he had moved in. Most of the stairs creaked, and a couple even had holes in them. A bag of feces, amongst other horrors, sat at the bottom of the stairway. He walked over it (a benefit of big legs?) before rushing through the already-ajar door. He alternated between walking and running the two mile trek to the gas station at which he worked, arriving there by 7:30. Joey! You come straight home , you hear me! For lunch he ate a bag of chips and drank a bottle of soda from the gas station's variety store. He went to the bar down the street after work at 5:00 PM. The music played loudly as he sat on a stool alone with his beer - the fifth that evening - and his thoughts. He hadn't sold a story in months, and he began to wonder if he had 'lost his touch'. People cam and went, but he remained until shortly before 9:30. A woman - dirty-blonde with dark blue eyes and a moderately tanned complexion - had walked over and sat next to him. They each drank a Rob Roy before he left. She had shown up several times in the preceding weeks, usually by about 9:00. He always left early, intending to write for a few hours; but he couldn't help but want to stay longer to be with her. Her name was Anne, she usually wore ripped jeans and a t-shirt - tonight she wore a pink t-shirt - by which he guessed her age to be no more than twenty-two, some five years younger than himself. He walked home slower than usual. He hadn't been in the mood to write lately, most likely brought about by a mild depression from having his four latest stories rejected. He truly loved to write, but now he couldn't help but think that there was no purpose to doing so. He thought back to high school. There'd been a girl whom he had liked, Christine. He wrote a poem for her and read it aloud, which embarrassed her and thus caused her to avoid him. He had felt then like giving up writing for good, but always seemed to return some way or another. That is what he believed would happen now, sooner or later. He sat one his wooden chair at his desk in front of his computer for about forty minutes. He'd start writing for a few minutes, reread what he had just written, and then delete it. This happened about four or five times before he muttered 'oh, to hell with it' under his breath and left to continue reading the book from last night. At 11:30 PM he put down his book to sleep. Unlike the last weeks, he found sleep came over him almost immediately. When he woke up he saw the clock read 7:10 AM; he had slept directly through the night without so much as a single awakening or a moment of insomnia. He neither ate nor showered but immediately changed his clothes (he had slept in yesterday's clothing) and rushed out the door. He nearly fell down the stairs when his right foot got caught in that pesky hole, though he quickly regained his balance. He arrived only a few minutes late, which he would make up for with an additional ten minutes that night. Joey...Joey. Come back to me Joey, my love. The walk home was slower than usual. Despite his longer-than-average night's sleep he felt tired, when he got home he ate a bowl of oatmeal before stumbling to bed. It was only 6:27 PM when he went to sleep, but the clock read 7:07 when he awoke. Nearly thirteen hours sleep, yet it didn't feel like anymore than two. Once again he refrained from showering, but he did grab a granola bar before he left his apartment. He arrived at work on time (another benefit of his long legs?). Lunch consisted of a submarine sandwich from a store down the block and a bottle of water. He took a taxi to get home after work, feeling greatly more fatigued with each passing moment. He ate a supper of beans, washed down by milk, before he endeavored another failed attempt at writing a short story. At eight o'clock he took another taxi do the bar near his work, where he was greeted by Anne. They sat at a booth where they each drank a beer before he invited her to his house. Another taxi ride - she paid - and they were walking up the front steps to his apartment building. The bag of feces had been moved by somebody, presumably the almost-nonexistent janitor, which relieved Joey somewhat. There were no lights in the stairway so he had to warn her of each hole. The ceaseless creaking noises unnerved her much, but he had long since grown accustomed to them. Dim lights lit the hallway just barely enough to make out the graffiti on the walls. The smell, while repugnant, was mostly covered by the smell of her perfume. Joey! How could you dare to bring another woman home when you have me, Joey! Me! You do remember me, Joey?

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    I've written following chapters for the other stories, yet I feel that they were not well done at all. This idea, while of course the first chapter is slow, I do believe will evolve into quite the piece. If I can continue writing the remainder with a similar style, I believe that this piece shall be quite masterful for a first-time novella-writer.
    I do, though, have one question:
    Is it too dry?
    I truly cannot comprehend the complexities of emotionality. No matter how hard I try, I do not believe that I can integrate emotions into the narrative and thus receive an emotional response from said narrative.
    To be honest, you're writing is too stilted. It's like wearing a tuxedo to a backyard cookout.

    As an adult he stood no less than two inches below the average head of a door frame- he barely cleared a doorway.

    quite the flow of income-made a lot of money

    he refrained from showering- he didn't shower

    two mile trek-the two miles

    None of these is incorrect but taken together are very stilted. You're writing a story, not a thesis.
    That's the problem I mentioned in my opening comment. I cannot help myself - I write what comes naturally to me.
    Okay, here is something else.
    where he prepared a bowl of oatmeal and prepared coffee. - Use a dictionary. This would be better as "prepared a bowl of oatmeal and brewed some coffee." Less repitition. Also, I will IM you with a really good website you should visit.
    Understand that no one wants to discourage you. There's no problem with the creative side. You need to use the language differently than you're used to.

    kt will send you to some good sites.
    Firstly, I'm enjoying the story; there is some quite nice imagery here.

    I'm finding it quite difficult however, to develop any sort of feeling for the main character. There little to like or dislike; he has an impersonal feel about him.

    Kt and Don have valid points here - it all comes down to practise - I used to write in a similar way.