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Patrick

A lazy dance

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The torch flickered. A lazy dance, close to death. The desperate flame longed for more, but it slowly sputtered out, plunging the cavern into darkness. A desperate, lonely darkness. A darkness that almost felt alive, barely visible shadows creeping along walls that the last embers could no longer pierce. And then silence.

 

A silence that was shattered by a hacking cough, a cough that should not have been. A cough that came from a throat that had lived through more than should have been possible. A cough that begged for death, that wanted no more. A cough that descended into an almost comical hacking sound, that one could have almost laughed at. Had anyone been around. But no one was there in the bestial darkness, no one heard the series of coughs slowly sputter out as the dying flames of the torch had but moments earlier.

 

A foot scraped along a floor, an almost lazy motion, that obliterated the already fragile silence, followed by another cough, stirring invisible dust in the subterranean chamber. And then came silence again.

 

A silence that lasted for dozens of heartbeats, heartbeats that could barely be lived through, the tension almost palpable, a precursor to an explosion of violence that never came. A silence that lasted hundreds of heartbeats. A silence that lasted so long that the young boy hiding behind a rock was ready to move, was ready to brave the dark, to brave the monster who had a vile cough, was ready to brave his worst fears, was ready to die.

 

And die he did...

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Something completely random, no context, no characters, no dialogue, no story, but I still like it, for some reason it feels complete, not to be continued. A single scene, but I feel that adding to it would only take away from it.

 

 

Comments as always are appreciated.

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Interesting. The imagery is fantastic. I feel like the repetition is overdone, though. Not all of it - much of it serves to reinforce what's gone before, which I assume is the intent. But certain ones (particularly when you begin a sentence with the phrase you just used to end the last sentence, I think) are distracting.

 

The end is a little abrupt, too, but then I suppose that's probably the point. :)

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I think you're right about the repetitions.

 

Draft the second, let me know what you think:

 

The torch flickered. A lazy dance, close to death. The desperate flame longed for more, but it slowly sputtered out, plunging the cavern into darkness. A desperate, lonely darkness, that almost felt alive, barely visible shadows creeping along walls that the last embers could no longer pierce. And then silence.

A silence that was shattered by a hacking cough, that should not have been, that came from a throat that had lived through more than should have been possible. A cough that begged for death, that wanted no more, descending into an almost comical hacking sound, that one could have almost laughed at. Had anyone been around. But no one was there in the bestial darkness, no one heard the series of coughs slowly sputter out as the dying flames of the torch had but moments earlier.

A foot scraped along a floor, an almost lazy motion, that obliterated the already fragile silence, followed by another cough, stirring invisible dust in the subterranean chamber. And then came silence again.

The silence lasted for dozens of heartbeats, slow shudders that could barely be lived through, the tension almost palpable, a precursor to an explosion of violence that never came. And then hundreds of heartbeats. A silence that took so long that the young boy hiding behind a rock was ready to move, to brave the dark, to face the monster who had a vile cough. He was ready to brave his worst fears, and even felt prepared to die.

And die he did.

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Much better in my opinion, though I'd be curious to know whether others agree.

 

The only thing I could point out is the sentence: "Had anyone been around." For some reason, that stuck out for me. It broke the tone that the rest of it sets. I guess it just seems informal because it's so short? It seems to work just fine if I read it as part of the prior sentence instead of a new sentence, but I really couldn't tell you why that should do anything.

 

Otherwise: Very nice!

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