The Murder in Leviskine

Fantasy written by Aidan F on Saturday 22, September 2018

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This is my first writing for this website. It is a short story that I originally wrote for school, but would like to receive feedback for it to improve my writing.

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In the Duck and Gravy bar on the coast of the city Leviskine, a wiry man walks in with what looks to be a limp from a recent wound. His hair a mess, his pants torn and stained with blood, his gray and red beard untidy, and his leg torn open with what looks like a knife cut, he collapses to the ground with a sudden movement. A waitress screams as men jump up to grab the man and take him to the doctor. All around there is action except at a table in the back corner of the bar that isn’t quite lit, creating a mysterious effect that carries the point, “Leave me alone.”. Through with the man sitting there. He is a man in his early 20s with a clean shaven beard. His hair is black and he was covered with a hooded cape that envelopes his muscular figure with a cloaking air. As the event takes place, he simply watches the men take the almost dead man to the doctor. He walks out the door with a confident unrattled air, and follows the men. He watches as the doctor sews up the wound and gives instructions to his unders to help him with various tasks as he continues to heal the wound. As soon as the doctor is done, he walks across to the intent observer, grabs his arm, and says in a low voice, “You seem interested in this man, so I give you his name in the hope that you will help take care of him, for he is a good man, a great one. Aron is his name.” The mystery man nods his head in thanks, but is secretly in turmoil about this Aron, because this man he was supposed to kill has a name and is a good human being, which is more than he can say for himself. He was supposed to kill this man outside of the bar, but Aron is a fierce fighter and was able to escape him and get into the bar just slightly after he slipped inside. He cocks his head and considers his predicament. He will wait until the man wakes and then decide at that time whether or not to kill him. Aron after all had never seen his face, because of the long black cloak he had worn, along with a piece of cloth tied around his face. The next day, Aron wakes to find a strange bulky man dozing in the chair next to him. The man wakes with a start and says with some measure of surprise, “You are awake, good. I am Henderson. We have things to discuss. Come.” Henderson walks out the door with a strut as Aron, father of one, betrothed to none, struggles to follow on his splint and piece of wood acting as a crutch. Aron arrives next to a bright and lively green apple tree in a beautiful and well trimmed garden. Henderson stands right below the apple tree looking up at the light red apples that are almost ripe. The assassin pivots on his heel and says, “I have been told that you are a good man, nay a great one, and that you deserve to be taken care of, even though there is no one but me to do so. So I have decided to take you on until such a time as you are healed.” “Thank you, I appreciate the kind gesture towards my old gray heart, but I can well take care of myself. ” Aron finishes defiantly. “Our medicine may be great in the 17th century, but that doesn’t mean you will survive this injury without some assistance.” “I said I don't want care and I don’t want your blaspheming mouth around me either!” “Old man, you need care and you will get it from me, because I am now your caregiver!” Aron rages, “You will have to restrain me boy if you want me to stay in with you.” “I will do whatever it takes to get you back into health because the doctor, a friend and Colleague of mine has asked me to. Even though he is employed by a competitor I will still do what he asks.” Both men are breathing hard and glaring, but it can be seen that they have reached an unspoken compromise, even though they did not yet know what it was. Later that day, both men were to be found sitting on a patio of a small weathered, yet homy white and gray house in the afternoon of the very same day, smoking colombian style cigars. They had both reached an unspoken agreement that talking was unnecessary, and so they both listened to the crickets and the creekings of their patios chair as they rocked back and forth in the silence that ensued between the two men. They may have appeared different from anyway you looked at them physically, but mentally and emotionally they were synced in one purpose; to make the other one miserable. They gradually started talking again with grunts, yups, and uh huhs, and then grew to the category where each one begins to become interested. They rapidly became more interested in the other and soon they were talking and laughing about all their old memories. And so the night passed and became day with both men tired but exhilarated with the thrill that only staying up the whole night can give you. As dawn came about both men finally calmed and just sat in the companionable silence that followed the once chattery atmosphere. The weeks pass and Aron becomes able to walk without support again. The assassin and the victim have become great friends to the point that the assassin feels like it would be beyond wrong to kill this great man. He has begun to become homesick of late, and misses his little girl and wife. He will tell Aron that he is leaving when he gets back from his daily run. This is the last thought the man Henderson has before he falls forward dead, with a man standing behind holding a sword out at length dripping with red blood. The man wears a cotton shirt and fancy boots with black pants, for that is what he left in this very morning to go on a run. This man had the expression of someone who had had to do something distasteful, and nothing more. This man had injured him after all, and although he had found companionship in this man, he had always been mad at the skill he had possessed to almost kill him. Henderson had of course been under the employ of the government to kill Aron, because well Aron was a very cruel assassin that worked for a movement that opposed the government. Henderson had never known that this man was the real Aron, because he had hunted down hundreds of “Arons” in the past. As Aron worked to build a firepit to dispose of his bloody clothing, he admitted to himself that he was cruel, but he was working to make the country a better place for his child so that his boy, almost 9 now, could finally come out of hiding. He had known as soon as Henderson was in town, for a man of his reputation does not come and go without word spreading. The “doctor”, one of Aron’s associates had done his job of convincing Henderson that Aron was a good, nay great man. And so in this order, Aron was able to kill Henderson without the normal struggle that would ensue between two assassins sent to kill one another. All of this Aron thought while he burned the clothing, put on new clothing, rinsed off the blood, and called the deputy in town about the murder of Henderson. There was no evidence left when the Deputy got there, for Aron was very practiced at these things. The Deputy said that Henderson was killed with his very own sword that lay next to him; what an embarrassment.

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    Aidan, this is an interesting story line but it seemed too long for the content. Some of the explanation at the end was unnecessary. If you trim it to about 2/3 of its present length I believe it will make a much better story.

    “Leave me alone.”. period both in & out of " not standard for simple English (i.e. USA) we would omit 2nd period. Not sure for primitive English (UK, Canada, etc.) and don't know which you use.
    'Through with the man sitting there.' this isn't a sentence; meaning a mystery to me
    'His hair is black and he was covered...' changing tenses in a paragraph seldom works; within a sentence, virtually never & didn't here
    '... restrain me[,] boy[,] if you want...'

    the antecedent of pronouns is sometimes not clear
    Vary nearby wording unless repeated for emphasis. 'looks to be' looks like', 'was supposed to kill'

    As an aside, this site has a peculiarity in that tabs and initial spaces in the original are omitted from the posted version others see. Check the difference between 'edit' and 'read' versions of your story on your 'manage writings' list. The result is that paragraphs run together which makes reading tedious at times. We usually handle this by leaving a blank line between paragraphs. Crude but it works.
    Aidan, this is in response to the question in your IM regarding my comment: ... when you said the explanation was too long in your comment on The Murder in Leviskine, when would you say I should cut off the explanation at. First, "...cut off the explanation." no "at"
    'The man wears a cotton shirt and fancy boots with black pants,...' After this the story should wrap up in 4 to 6 lines. Maybe underline all that follows, then go word by word & remove underlines only on each word that provides something the reader really needs to know. Then delete everything underlined & convert what's left into nice sentences. This works fairly well for me: I am also prone to verbal diarrhea and constantly strive, frequently with limited success, to cure my writings thereof. It's the old "Do as I say, not as I do."

    PS In the original comment, I meant to trim the entire story to 2/3 its length, not just the ending. Until more condensed writing comes naturally, if ever, you should set a goal of trimming it to half its length and then add back only what you feel are the most important things you deleted. You could also try writing flash fiction. You don't have to get to the level of the 6-word novel (allegedly) written by Hemingway: "For sale, baby shoes, never worn." but try for 100 or fewer word stories (I like to try for 25-50 words) as an exercise.

    PPS In the past few days the site has been updated to preserve indents and white-space in the original, so my comment about leaving a blank line between paragraphs no longer applies provided you indent the first word of each paragraph.
    Okay, double-space between paragraphs. Easier on the eyes!
    You need a good, hard edit on this. I would work on that.

    Now, a couple of things. You set this in the 17th century. Really? "smoking colombian style cigars." Not in the 17th century. And I don't think that anyone would be going for a run.

    You need to fix those bugs in the plot to make it consistent. That said, please keep writing. You have a good idea for a plot, you just need to make it work. Cool