Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Page 12

“Dammit, I’m... trying...”

Ah well. I understood you the second time, anyway.

“Then answer my question, already!”

Hey, you didn’t pause that time. Good job.

“I wish you had a body so I could strangle you...”

That’s an important question, though. Obviously, if I could keep more people alive, I would. I don’t know about everyone, but yes. The problem is, I can only maintain a stable connection with one soul at a time. If I tried to maintain it with a second person, then my energy would begin to dissipate, which would end up exhausting or destroying me. And if either of those two things happen to me, then the people I’m connected to would have their souls ripped from their still-living bodies, which would result in either brain death or a psychotic break. And a body with a broken consciousness can become rather monstrous, to say the least.

He cocked his head back. “You mean, they’d... like... start killing random people?”

Among other gruesome things, yeah.

“Wow... okay.” He folded his slender arms, and his face distorted a little. “But if that’s the case, then... why’d you pick me for this job?”

Well, I had to pick someone. I needed a servant, and there you were.

“That’s it...? It was just coincidence that you picked me...?”


Hector eyed the reaper. “And what does that mean? ‘Mostly’?”

I try not to petition murderers and the like for this job, so yes, there is some judgment involved, on my part. What’s more, I didn’t pick you. I asked you. You’re the one who agreed.

“But... a second chance like this... who the hell would turn down your offer?”

Someone who just wants to die.


  1. Loved the last line here. Great bit of foreshadowing. Here's an example of what I mean about those pesky ellipses:

    “That’s it...? It was just coincidence that you picked me...?”

    In this line, you could just use: "That's it? It was just a coincidence that you picked me?" The question marks themselves provide the adequate pause making the ellipses unnecessary. I'll stop harping on it now.

    Scott Scherr

    1. This is a point of contention for me, actually. I'm certainly aware that a lot of people frown upon "overuse" of the ellipsis like this, but I hope you won't be offended when I say that I'm of the opinion that those folks don't really know what they're talking about. And I think this story demonstrates why.

      As the text draws on, you'll probably notice that the ellipsis are serving another, quieter function than simply "pauses in speech." It's most clear with Hector. He pauses all the time. It's just how he talks. But it's also more just pausing, as well. There's constant hesitation there. He's uncertain of his words, even afraid of them.

      I think the difference shows even in the example that you give here. Removing the ellipses would change Hector's entire mannerism. It would make him sound more sure of himself. It's not about making the pause "adequate" for the reader or anyone else. It's an important part of his characterization. Granted, there are times when Hector speaks without any ellipses at all, and that's because he is, for those brief times, speaking a bit more normally. But more often than not, he does speak with a certain timidity.

  2. Argh thus far I really can't stand Hector. The premise is interesting so I'm continuing but if he didn't become less annoying, fast...

  3. *nods* As I'd said earlier, I'd got the personality bit as soon as Garovel observed the pattern and made its deliberate nature clear. Punctuation can communicate many things beyond their basic function, personally I'd commend you understanding that. It fit in with other pieces: how quiet he is, his mannerisms, the snapshot of his life you so effectively portrayed a few pages back. It's a slow burner, your character building, but in all the good ways.

    I wonder what affect being a hero will have on his self-esteem long term, mmm? A juicy bit of character development in that. I have the feeling you didn't miss it.

  4. I agree. As I read the ellipses, I can see Hector's facial muscles work overtime as he struggles to communicate. I gave to ask, Mister Frost, did you intend Hector to seem a bit Asperger's? As a behaviorist specializing in the Autism Spectrum, I must say he seems to be. I anticipate that soon he'll be showing his need for social justice. Such a character can make an unexpectedly good hero...

  5. I suspect it is on purpose. Further reading will show Frost is no stranger to genuine psychology.

  6. Last line was great.

  7. Dang this mc is annoying