Author Topic: VIOLET HORIZON - Crime Thriller with SF Twist  (Read 74 times)

Offline floydnerd93

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VIOLET HORIZON - Crime Thriller with SF Twist
« on: November 29, 2019, 10:40:27 AM »
Any & all feedback is appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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CHAPTER 1
Hazel
 
           Time travel is possible. Just not in the way you think. Those were the first words the scientist had said to her.
He was a corpulent man; his swollen gut hung dangerously over his belt. His hands were covered in thick callouses and black grease, and his green eyes were surrounded by thick wrinkles and creases. His office desk, in front of which she sat, was covered in scattered papers, yellowed photographs, thoughts scribbled on purple sticky-notes, and an assortment of black pens. The entire room stank of fast food and sweat.
           “What I mean to say,” the scientist continued, “is that time travel as we know it is impossible. It’s impossible to develop a machine that can transport you into this world’s past or the future at a whim, to a specific date of your choosing. H.G. Wells had a great imagination, but such designs were – unfortunately – relegated to just that: imagination. What we offer is not technically time travel, but it would serve roughly the same purpose, including allowing you to choose a day to return to.”
           Hazel adjusted herself in the chair. Its metal arms and thin cushion offered little comfort, especially for her fifty-five-year-old frame. Her doctors had diagnosed her with what felt like every skeletal disease under the sun, from scoliosis to osteoporosis. Her hair had started to fall out, too. Perhaps that was the reason she felt so confident about embarking on the journey this experiment offered. Perhaps that was the reason she didn’t really care what the man in front of her had to say. Time machine, no time machine, it didn’t matter to her as long as she could get back to her brother. To Thomas.
           The scientist cleared his throat, and Hazel tried to ignore the guttural sound of phlegm. “Essentially, what I mean to say is that we will utilize your memories and our own data about the day, month, and year you want to return to. We will then transfer your consciousness into this world. However, once you do this you cannot return to our world. It’s a one-way trip, so to speak.”
           “Will I remember anything?” Hazel asked.
           “Unlikely,” the scientist said with a shrug. He stretched his arms out above his head, and she noticed visible, damp patches that had grown underneath his armpits. “That would lead to a lot of complications, as I’m sure you can understand. We feel it’s safest to immerse you in your memories and allow you to interact with the world as if it were real. To you, it will be real. If you die there, you will be dead. If you get arrested there, you will go to jail. The world will act as its own parallel dimension if you will, but one devised so we can avoid complications with paradox and real-world adjustments. Since you are our first subject though, and since this is still an experiment in the most obvious sense of the definition, there is no telling whether you will have trace memories of your present here. They may appear in dreams, or they may visualize as hallucinations.”
           Hazel had thought long and hard about the proposition when it had first been broached to her. She had been sitting on her living room couch, watching the holographic television while sipping a cup of coffee. A commercial had come on that seemed almost too perfect: a venture into your past, the voiceover had promised. Change your life. Find your perfect present. On the screen, she had watched picturesque images of a white man reuniting with a former flame, of saving a child from a tragic death, of chasing his dream career. All the images ended the same way: with a bright, TV smile and a triumphant fist raised in the air. She didn’t care about any of these things. She didn’t have any past loves to find, nor did she have any children to save from fires. But she did have a memory: a ghost from her past that lurked in the corner of her mind. An image of her younger brother being dragged away in handcuffs, his hands drenched in blood.
           She didn’t care about the minutiae of time travel, or even about whether this project was time travel or a fancy computer-generated fantasy. Acutely aware of the odd irony, she had pursued the project with the same level of desire she imagined the man on her television screen had: with desperation and desire.
           Desire to save her brother.
           “Do you have any questions?” the scientist asked. He leaned forward, and the metal chair underneath him groaned and creaked.
           Hazel thought long and hard about his question. At last, she came up with seven words that encapsulated both her desire to get on with the experiment and her willingness to pursue the unknown.
           “What else do you need from me?”
       
           It turned out, they didn’t need much more from her: just an exact date to which she wanted to go, a place she wanted to be, and a few signatures on official-looking forms. Once all of that was out of the way, they placed a large metal helmet on her head. Out the top of it were an assortment of wires and sharp metal bits, none of which Hazel dared touch. Then, she was placed on an uncomfortable conveyor belt. Her back was screaming with pain, shooting jolts of electric heat up her curved spine, as she settled down onto it. Her heart shuddered as the conveyer belt began to move, pulling her backward into a large, cylindrical tube. Violet light surrounded her; her skin seemed to glow in the comfortable ambiance. Then, she heard the scientist’s voice again, though this time in her mind.
           Don’t be afraid, he said. We’ve tapped into your neural network. We are ready to begin the process of transferring you. Now is the time to say something if you would like to abort the program. Per your contract, you can do so at any moment before transference if you feel uncomfortable or you get cold feet. He paused. Do you want to abort the project?
           Hazel looked up at the ceiling of the cylinder, which had been outfitted with hundreds of small, LED lights. They used a fraction of the power older LED bulbs did but gave off more light.
She thought about her brother, about the shocked look of betrayal on his face as he was pulled into the cop car. She had never seen him again, not after that fateful morning he had plunged a knife into their mother’s heart. He was fed up with the curtain rod, as Hazel had been when she was living under the same roof. She had figured out a way to hide her welts and bruises, so she wouldn’t raise suspicion. Her mother had often claimed that she would kill Hazel if the authorities ever learned about her punishments, and Hazel had believed her.
           His pink fist doused in hot blood.
           His eyes streaming with confused tears.
           His thrashing body.
The veins standing out in his neck as he yelled her name – Hazel! Hazel! Hazel!
           Ms. Marsh, the scientist said. Do you wish to abort the project?
           “No,” Hazel said.
           Very well.
The machine around her began to play calming sounds: an ocean’s current rolling onto the beach, slipping and sliding over itself as gulls called to each other on the sandy shores. The violet hue grew in vibrancy. She could smell the beach she had once visited with a woman from Chicago. Both had been on a business trip in Maine – Hazel on a finance seminar, she on a political campaign (though Hazel hadn’t believed her; it wasn’t an election year). Ruth had been her name. It had flowed off Hazel’s tongue like chocolate the first time she said it. Ruth had never been to the ocean before, so they went. They drank mojitos and conversed about their lives back home. Ruth was married with two children, and Hazel said she was in a relationship, though the relationship was bullsh**; it was just easier to lie. They had sat together under the setting sun, listening to the waves and the gulls, pulling in the salty brine of the sea, feeling the comfortably warm, coarse sand underneath their feet, then they were kissing, and the sun was setting, and the stars were out.
   Wait. Something’s wrong. Abort the test.
   Sir -
   Abort it, god damn it! Abort before -
           A sudden spike of pain burst through her head, like a drill boring deep into her skull. Hazel let out an exasperated yelp just as her mind separated from her body. She was vaguely aware of her body in the present dying, of her heart pumping rapidly and exploding in her chest with a hot, damp jolt of pain. Then her mind was spinning away into the void. Galaxies spread out before her; stars sparkled in velvet blackness and supernovas exploded in brilliant displays of blues and blacks. Her mind veered its course, and Hazel found herself hurtling toward a violet horizon over a crimson ocean.

Offline TY-FTW

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Re: VIOLET HORIZON - Crime Thriller with SF Twist
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2019, 03:42:40 PM »
--The word corpulent is distracting. (suggest removal)
--"stank of food and sweat" is awkward/bad in my opinion b/c food smells good. I think.
--Add quotations for the Scientist's first words please.
--"broached" I was flying through the story and this awkward word broke my drift into fantasy.
--"Her back was screaming with pain, shooting jolts of electric heat up her curved spine, as she settled down onto it." Your prose are riveting.
--Delete this whole sentence! "They used a fraction of the power older LED bulbs did but gave off more light. "
--"bullsh**" you can curse on here, right?

Overall Assessment: I liked it. Like a lot. It has TONS of errors, but I was pulled into the story nonetheless. Hope that helps. Peace!

Offline floydnerd93

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Re: VIOLET HORIZON - Crime Thriller with SF Twist
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2019, 05:02:00 PM »
Thanks for the feedback! I'll definitely take it into consideration as I'm editing. It looks like QT is the one that censored that curse, because I don't edit swears in my writing haha

One question -- when you say it has a ton of errors, do you mean the things you mentioned above, or is there something/other glaring things you noticed that should be addressed?

Offline TY-FTW

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Re: VIOLET HORIZON - Crime Thriller with SF Twist
« Reply #3 on: Yesterday at 03:02:43 PM »
*saw your newest query letter and I remembered reading your first 5 pages... came back to check, and now i can answer your question. -direct message next time ;-)

Quote
One question -- when you say it has a ton of errors, do you mean the things you mentioned above, or is there something/other glaring things you noticed that should be addressed?


I mean there are more errors (very similar to the ones i pointed out) that I did not want to point out b/c it would make me seem nit-picky on every little thing wrong. Trying to be helpful and nice at the same time is difficult, and I really don't want to sour what seems like such a friendly community.