In the Home of Beasts

Story written by Dnavarre on Thursday 7, May 2020

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I wrote this last year and surprised myself. Two girls in the woods.

Overall Rating: 87.4%

This writing has been rated by 1 members, resulting in a rating of 87.4% overall. Below is a breakdown of these results:

Spelling & Grammar:99%
"Kaylie, I don't like it here, can't we go home?" Victoria whined, tugging on her sister's shirt, refusing to turn her worried eye from the thick forest behind them. The trees they had just passed through now seemed bunched together, bundled branches forbidding any protective light from exposing dangers that lurked. Not that they could have done much to any threat regardless; the stick Kaylie held in her left hand made a good make-believe sword no matter how the boys mocked, but Victoria did not think wolves played pretend. It was the stupid boys' fault they had come out here, if they were eaten or torn apart it would all be the boys' fault for daring them to come here. Well, maybe Kaylie was a little to blame too for agreeing to it. And Victoria hadn't wanted to go, she only said yes because Kaylie asked. So it was all Kaylie's fault and the boys'...but Kaylie wouldn't have gone if the boys hadn't challenged her. So it was all the boys' fault they were going to die! "Kaylie?" She risked looking away from the dark to make sure her sister was still there--Victoria clutched her shirt, but she needed to be certain. Her sister, eleven, was two years older than her and never backed down from anything. She wore pants today, which was becoming more rare. Mother made her switch to dresses, and father said they should have done it sooner. They were old, stained, only had one small tear on them, but to Victoria they indicated Kaylie was here to fight. Her hair dangled longer, too. Last year what was left of it had to be cut after an accident attempting to leap fire. The boys were involved then, too. Her sister trembled, transfixed on the void beyond. Something crunched in the woods. Victoria spun but for a moment it seemed more like the world revolved around her as her brain sloshed in her head. The trees looked to be leaning towards them now, looming, taunting, pushing them towards Kaylie's goal and their probable end. Faces made of bark in the layered shadows laughed at the girls. Unseen death surrounded them and closed in wherever vision failed. Birds and insects both fell silent like children at the first illusion of a magician's show. What would happen next, they wondered. Making one of the girls disappear would be a neat trick. And the other might be cut in half. Somewhere in Victoria's head she hoped that this was all deception and the boys would leap out and surprise them, they'd be safe and not alone. She'd take her sister's stick and beat them if they did. Leaves crunched again on the edge of the deepest shadows, and this time she was staring right at it. A sharp yellow grin mocked her hopes, and paws bigger than her head crushed them into the dirt. If they didn't move, she wouldn't be long to follow. "Kaylie..." Victoria whimpered, shaking her sister out of her stupor. The older girl glanced over her shoulder and saw the beastial shape, its eyes unblinkingly hungry. Another stepped out beside it, low growl in its throat, paws placed forcefully, empowered by the scented knowledge that its prey was terrified. Kaylie's shuddering breath was her first in a long time. "Vickie, we have to go," she said, body shaking as if it were cold enough for snow. Victoria couldn't make her mind work well enough to ask the question she wanted to. Where could possibly be safe now? "Into the cave." Like the woods, the cavern seemed to have become more menacing since Victoria had last looked upon it. Its gaping mouth only held immense darkness, the darkest of shadows that ate everything up until the threshold and still yearned, stretched for more. No light crossed that line. If they passed it, they might very well fade into the void. This cave was not a secret trail to Divine Punishment the likes of Anais and Odinseus braved, it was a gap in creation. If they passed that line, they would fall out. Sticksword in one hand, Victoria's wrist in her other, Kaylie broke for the depths.

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    Odysseus is the usual spelling, but it has been spelled several other ways. I haven't seen the two operas so I am not sure how the allusion (if it is an allusion) works in this story. A couple of discriptors about what 'Divine Punishment' is might clear that up? It's up to you. Dante had Odysseus in one of hell's levels, but I'm guessing that's not your reference. And I would never want to see or read either of these girls falling to Anais' fate.
    I think you made the unease tethered to the determination of the two friends work pretty well. Their antipathy towards, and competitiveness with, the boys was also great.
    The mention of 'jumping over a fire' says a lot about these two.
    The sly thoughts that you weave in are good. Like, 'Victoria did not think wolves played pretend'.
    The introduction to the 'sharp yellow grin' and the 'paws bigger than her head' was a surprise. Quite a jarring shift in the narrative unless either she is completely imagining it or she is exaggerating or mis-reading the appearance of something in the forest.
    My only nit (and I might well be wrong) is perhaps the descriptions are just a tad too melodramatic? For example: The trees looked to be leaning towards them now, looming, taunting, pushing them towards Kaylie's goal.
    If the story continues (and they survive) it would be enjoyable to see them reach a point where they did not depend on 'boys' to motivate their adventures.
    Thanks for reading and your thoughts, Dickensonfan, I'm really proud of this piece! This is fantasy and "Odinseus" was just a name referring to Odysseus and Odin, just to give the impression of a legendary figure without suggesting this was taking place in reality. Not saying it's smart or works well, just how I did it, inspired by 'The Wheel of Time.'

    As for melodrama...that was what I was going for. Even if it didn't jive with you, I'm glad it came across. Maybe the appearance of the wolf-beasts was too sudden, if I ever edit this I'll be sure to make it more telegraphed.
    You should be proud of this writing. It is very good.

    It is also easily expandable. You can build on the adventure with the predator, adding at either the beginning or the end. There is a lot of potential in this story.