Author Topic: ANGEL BY DEMON Fantasy (First 5 Pages)  (Read 436 times)

Offline oliviamauthor

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ANGEL BY DEMON Fantasy (First 5 Pages)
« on: March 27, 2022, 12:37:25 PM »
     The crow that lights on the oak has the biggest beak I've seen on a bird. Its little eyes scope New Orient city as it perches on a branch. I can imagine its sharp mind taking note of the dead, sandy-rocky land around us, or perhaps the brilliant orange sky above.

     Its head then curves in my direction, meeting my eyes and throwing open its mouth in a riveting, sudden jerk. Lined around the perimeter of the beak is a single row of deadly, razor-edged triangles.

     I wince; they shouldn’t have teeth like that. I suppose with such fangs, these birds must require a most talented dentist.

     Ms. Selina, single mother of two, has narrow eyes that are bitter and focused on the spire as she makes her way further across the rocky paths that lead up to it. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen her so intense. She moves several paces ahead, and doesn’t slow down when I try to catch up to her.

     Angela, dressed in blue, runs ahead of me to catch up to Ms. Selina before I can, and giggles when my jaw drops in shock. Within a second I speed up and barrel the thirteen-year-old over, and she lets out a playful “Hey! Watch out, Damon!” and pushes me back. Our friendship has the literal push-and-pull of sibling rivalry, though I suppose now I am her step-brother, at least while under her mother’s guardianship.

     Ms. Selina swivels around at once.

     We silence.

     Since we’ve been in New Orient city, I’ve known that speaking is a great taboo in this family. Ms. Selina has never given us a straightforward answer for it. She just wants Angela and I to be silent, and that is the end of it. “Talking is pointless,” I recall her saying, “at this age you have nothing important to say.”

     Honestly, it never bothers me. I have the music to entertain me. Every morning my ears sigh under the familiar melodies and harmonies, all twisting through the world in an intangible beauty. I always find myself wondering which songs are my family’s favorites, but, with obedience, I never ask.

     Angela is the relentless one in our group; I can’t even remember how often Ms. Selina would preach about her being the least favorite of the three of us. Angela always finds something to smile about or an arbitrary question to ask, and it really screws with Ms. Selina’s parenting.

     Miranda, Angela's younger sister, is in Ms. Selina’s arms, dying. I can see that the ten-year-old’s brunette hair is flat and face is pale. Her voice gasps and croaks with illness as we continue forward. I’m surprised Ms. Selina is going through with taking her to the plague crow today. I noticed we walked past an advertisement on Nightmare Valley Way, an illustration of a crow in plague doctor getup offering healthcare services in lieu of human doctors. I again glance at the oak, and the crow I saw atop it earlier.

     While Ms. Selina casts her apathy upon us, I guess one of our deaths on her conscience is too sinister even for her to imagine, and Miranda’s illness has progressed beyond home remedy. So now, the crow waits for her.

     Just as Angela and I catch up to Ms. Selina, she waves her hand to signal us to stop.

     “We’re here.” She notifies us, and we sit down, calm, watching as she carries Miranda down the final cobblestone path.

     Unable to help myself, I tell Angela to stay back. I sneak around the corner of the street, and from the shadows, watch Ms. Selina take Miranda to the crow.

     It’s hard for me to see, but once they reach the end of that street, I make out the figure of the large blue-black crow poking out of the tree’s crown and hop over the branches towards them. The crow’s objects, instruments, animal parts and potions tied to the tree branches jingle as the crow flaps through them. The crow now wears a flat, round top hat which I assume it has thrifted, and a monocle.

     The crow investigates Miranda by tapping her with a twiggy branch which it holds with its foot, first noting her physical condition by humming and then cutting its talons through her skin to get a sample of her blood. It does so carefully, dripping her blood into a small scrying bowl, and then hopping back beside her to trace wild loops and curves along her veins and arteries with its thin talons.

     Miranda is deathly still as the plague crow does this to her. After a few moments of it rattling around its collection of needles, she speaks up in a sweetly accented, frightened voice.

     “Please, sir. Whatever you do, do not let it hurt for too long.”

     Ms. Selina is silent as the plague crow begins treatment. I watch, mesmerized, as the plague crow finishes with the needles then snaps Miranda’s neck between its carnivorous fangs. I stifle a horrified gasp.

     The crow drags her body, an awkward shuffle with its wings in its own way, back towards ashen-faced Ms. Selina, and cranes its neck forward, tipping its sharp, fanged beak right up at her. For something so little it could be stomped on under Ms. Selina’s feet, the bird appears brave and conniving. “There is no hope,” says the crow, before it flies away.

     Ms. Selina’s expression collapses in wordless tears and she turns away from the image of her murdered daughter. I hurry back to stand beside Angela and watch out for flying shadows with terrible beaks. While we wait for Ms. Selina to return from under the crow’s tree, which never happens, Angela nudges me.

     “It still is not yet sundown,” Angela whispers, eyes bright and alive. “While Miranda has her plague doctor's appointment, we can sneak off to play our games by the church, Damon! Mother will be busy and won’t care where we are until later!”

     This would be a healthy distraction from the dark truth about her little sister she’ll inevitably find out. Easily persuaded, I nod in agreement, allowing her to indulge me in her adventures. Giggling, Angela tumbles forward across the road and throws her gaze to the sky. She races around as she pinpoints the destination of our play; the sturdy but vintage spire that’s not far off. She hurries me up the stairs that lead to the massive wooden door frame of the church. “The clock tower up there will strike soon, dear friend! I want to hear the chime from the top.”

      “You could just hear it from here,” I say. It’s a small but hopeful attempt to reason with her. This church is abandoned and musty. Its spires are tall and needlelike. I wonder if the cold October wind will slam the door shut on us once we are inside, as karma for our trespass.

     “But tonight will be the Harvest Moon!” she halts and spirals towards me, frisking around and singing the age-old chant. “The Harvest Moon! The Harvest Moon! / The nights and delights of the Harvest Moon! / Abandon within us all that is secular / Heaven and Hell reflect onto the specular!

     She then stops bouncing, laughing and smiling at her silliness. Her eyes gleam the prettiest shade of indigo.

     “Ok,” I say. Happy with the fact that I accepted her persuasion, Angela knocks her fist playfully into my shoulder and sprints inside.

     The initial floor, the church, does not entertain her for long, but the library upstairs captivates her. I am aware of the fact that she cannot read, but I let her tear through the books despite this.

     She says, “Damon, come along, haven’t you heard me?”

     My focus had been on a song in A minor in the background, but I snap my attention to her. “I must have not heard you… what–”

     “Shh,” she whispers. “Follow me.”

     There’s a short black staircase leading upstairs and we scale up it. We stop at the fourth floor, a continuation of the library, and Angela slips towards a window.

     “Ah. I knew I heard something from outside…” she says, “the view is magical from up here!”

     As I inspect the window, or rather, what was through it, I see the population of my city, dressed for elaborate festivity, massing into one circle of bodies, arms linking in another’s, creating the sign of the full moon around the city block. They are people who seem content with this desolate harmony in the song that moves around them. As the formation of their circle continues, I feel a spike in my A minor music and the tone gyrates to a quick rhythm with obnoxious accents.

     “They must be celebrating the Harvest Moon tonight,” Angela says. “Look, the sky is such a vibrant orange. The color has so much significance to us.”

     I would have questioned her somewhat uncanny observation of the annual holiday had the music been quieter. The melodies never bothered me until this moment, and as the intangible notes rap against my skull, I plead my internal symphony to revert to the previous A minor number.

Offline susan-louise

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Re: ANGEL BY DEMON Fantasy (First 5 Pages)
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2022, 02:15:31 AM »
Olivia - this is an intriguing story and I hope you do very well with it.  I've made some suggestions that might help tighten langugae etc. 

The crow that lights on the oak has the biggest beak I've seen on a bird. Its little eyes scope New Orient city as it perches on a branch. I can imagine its sharp mind taking note of the dead, sandy-rocky land around us, or perhaps the brilliant orange sky above.
(We discussed this opening in your other post -so I won't comment here)

     Its head then curves in my direction as meeting my eyes and it throwing opens its mouth in a riveting, sudden jerk. Lined around the perimeter of the beak is a single row of deadly, razor-edged triangles (the razor-edged is showing us they are deadly, you don't need to tell us also).  Syntax. Try "Around the perimeter of the beak is a row of razor-edged triangles...but then I thought perhaps the flow could be improved.  You need to keep this as crisp and tight as possible. Try

:As its head swings in my direction, the beak jerks open revealing a row of  razor-edged triangles....."


     I wince; theya crow  shouldn’t have teeth like that. I suppose with such fangs, these birds must require a most talented dentist. (nice)

     Ms. Selina, single mother of two, has narrow eyes that are bitter and focused on the spire as she makes her way further across the rocky paths that lead up to it.  (I've just commented about Ms Selina below, but try rephrasing - because it is hard to show someone has bitter eyes.  Easier to show a sour, unhappy countenance.  Ms Selina's eyes are focused on the spire as she heads further across the rocky paths that lead up to it(are you referring to the crow? If so, might help saying as I was confused. Here you could also show her bitterness...For example. "It’s been awhile since I’ve seen her so intense, although the grim lines of her mouth  never change" or something..which might convey the bitterness etc).She moves several paces ahead, and doesn’t slow down when I try to catch up to her.

It's always a challenge introducing characters and their backgrounds without the descriptions sounding like synopses.  If you can somehow show, via dialogue, that she is a single mother, or foster-mother then that would be better.

     Angela, dressed in blue, (again sounds rather passive. If you are showing clothing give us a glimpse of what it is.  "blue denim dress flaps about as she runs ahead to catch up to...." )runs ahead of me to catch up to Ms. Selina before I can, and giggles when my jaw drops in shock. Within a second I speed up and barrel the thirteen-year-old over, and she lets out a playful
new line for dialogue “Hey! Watch out, Damon!” she giggles and pushes me back.
new line Our friendship has the literal push-and-pull of sibling rivalry, though I suppose now I'm am technically her step-brother, at least while under her mother’s guardianship.

     Ms. Selina swivels around at once.

     We silence. (silence is a noun.  Do you mean "We are silent")

     Since we’ve been in New Orient city, I’ve known learnt that speaking is a great taboo in this family. Ms. Selina has never given us a straightforward answer for it. She just wants Angela and I to be silent, and that is the end of it. “Talking is pointless,” I recall her saying, “because at this age you have nothing important to say.”

     Honestly, it never bothers me. I have the music to entertain me. Every morning my ears sigh under the familiar melodies and harmonies, all twisting (perhaps the wrong word...you are describing harmony while twisting suggests torment or struggle) through filling  the my world in an   with intangible beauty. I always find myself wondering which songs are my family’s favorites, but, with obedience, I obediently never ask.

     Angela is the relentless[color=blue] ( Hm...try : the most defiant/irrepressible?)[/color]one in our group of three; I can’t even remember  how often Ms. Selina would preach about her being the her least favorite of the three of us. Angela always finds something to smile about or an arbitrary question to ask, and it really screws with Ms. Selina’s parenting.  ( (nice)

     Miranda, Angela's younger sister, is in Ms. Selina’s arms, dying. I can see that The ten-year-old’s brunette hair is flat and face is ashen pale. (Not sure how the colour of hair or its texture shows that a child is dying. It jarred with me as a reader  but this is simply an observation!) Her voice breathing comes in gasps and croaks with illness(no need to tell us, you are showing she is ill, and we know she is dying from above sentence) as we continue forward. I’m surprised Ms. Selina is going through with taking her to the plague crow today. Earlier I noticed we walked past an advertisement on Nightmare Valley Way, an illustration of It showed a crow in plague doctor attire getup offering healthcare services in lieu of human doctors. I again glance at the oak, and the crow studies me relentlesslyI saw atop it earlier.  For me, this final sentence jars.  I loved the reflection about the advertisement and am now really intrigued about your book...a novel with preternaturally intelligent crows in charge of this world. )

     While Ms. Selina casts her apathy upon us,  I guess one of our deaths on her conscience is too sinister even for her to imagine, and Miranda’s illness has progressed beyond home remedy. So now, the crow waits for her(love this last sentence.  You are effectively setting up the power balance of this world in a few words.  It's chilling. Brava)
However,  I think the sentence needs rejigging for impact as it it jars a little

    Despite Ms. Selina's indifference to us, I guess her conscience is struggling with the futility of her home remedies as Miranda approaches death.   So, now the crow waits for her.

[/b]
    Just As Angela and I catch up to Ms. Selina, she signals us to stop. waves her hand to signal us to stop.

     “We’re here," she announces.  "Sit down."  She notifies us, and we sit down, calm

New line.  We watch breathlesslywatching as she carries Miranda down the final cobblestone path.

     Unable to help myself, Impulsively, I tell Angela to stay back. I sneak around the street corner the street, and watch from the shadows, watch as Ms. Selina takes Miranda to the crow.  (OK....I think you need a little more clarity with your setting - the opening paragraph suggested they were out in the wilderness...but now I realise this is a street.  Perhaps some tweaking for clarity)

    It’s hard for me to see, but once As they reach the end of that street, I make out the figure of color=blue]]see[/color]  the large  blue-black crow poking out of imperiously from the tree’s crown. It hops over the branches towards them.   (On first reading, it suggested the character narrating hops over the branches so breaking the sentence fixes this!)The crow’s objects, instruments (of power??), animal parts and potions tied to the tree branches jingle as the crow it flies through them. The crow now wears a flat, round top hat which I assume it has thrifted, and a monocle.  (Is this the same crow we see in the opening para??  In any case, nice atmosphere building here)

     The crow investigates taps Miranda by tapping her[/s] with a twiggy branch which it holds with in its claw foot. It first notes her physical condition by humming and then cutting piercing her skin with its talon through her skin to get a sample of her blood. It does so carefully places droplets dripping her blood into a small scrying bowl, and then hops back beside her to trace wild loops and curves along her veins and arteries with its thin talon. (You have already used talon...and repetition jars for a reader.  Can you not have crow delicately  tracing the loops or runes with its beak?)


Throughout the procedure, Miranda remains deathly still as the plague crow does this to her. He rattles around a collection of needles and after a few moments she jerks into consciousness. After a few moments of it rattling around its collection of needles, she speaks up in a sweetly accented, frightened voice.

    Her eyes fix on him in terror.  “Please, sir. Whatever you do, don't not let it hurt for too long.”

     Ms. Selina is silent as the plague crow begins treatment. I watch, mesmerized, as the plague crow it finishes with the needles then snaps Miranda’s neck between its carnivorous fangs. I stifle a horrified gasp.  (I remember the razor-lined interior beak.  This must be a huge crow to achieve this feat of neck-breaking.  If he is unnaturally large, you need to show us, the reader, more clearly, so we can visualise.  You did use the word "big" earlier...but big is probably doing him a disservice!)

     The crow drags Miranda's body in an awkward shuffle with its wings (nice phrasing so you don't need the following clause- less is more) in its own way, back towards ashen-faced Ms. Selina, and cranes its neck forward, tipping its sharp, fanged beak right up at her. For something so little it could be stomped on under Ms. Selina’s feet, the bird appears brave and conniving.   Clumsy:  Try  "For something so small that it could easily be stomped under foot, the bird always appears powerful and conniving..."

new line “There is no hope,” says the crow, before it flies away.  (OK so now you are telling us the crow is little.  Then in that case, you need to reference more clearly how strong he is above)

     Ms. Selina’s expression collapses in wordless tears Tears flow down Ms. Selina's cheeks and she turns away from the image of her murdered daughter.  (so is she her real daughter or foster daughter? Bit confused about the relationships) I hurry back to stand beside Angela and watch out for flying shadows with terrible (terrifying??) beaks. While we wait for Ms. Selina to return from under the crow’s tree, which never happens, Angela nudges me.
This syntax confused me.  I assume you are saying

We wait for Ms. Selina, but she never returns from the crow's tree.  Angela nudges me...

    “It'still is not yet sundown,” Angela whispers, eyes bright and alive. “While Miranda has her plague doctor's appointment, we can sneak off to play our games by the church, Damon! Mother will be busy and won’t care where we are until later!”  (OK so now you might need to fix the previous sentence where it is suggested that Ms S never returns, for some reason, from the tree.  Perhaps she remains there grieving for her daughter??  Clarity is required because the more you make me try to figure things out as a reader, the less focused I become on the writing.  And this is a wonderful story)

     This would be a healthy distraction from the dark truth about her little sister's fate she’ll inevitably find out. Easily persuaded, I nod in agreement, allowing her to indulge me in her adventures. Giggling, Angela tumbles forward across the road and throws her gaze to the sky. She races around as she pinpoints the towards destination of our play; the sturdy but vintage  spire that’s not far off. She hurries me up the stairs that lead to the church's massive wooden door frame of the church.

new line for dialogue “The clock tower up there will strike soon, dear friend! I want to hear the chime from the top.”

      “You could just hear it from here,” I suggest. It’s a small but hopeful attempt to reason with her. This church is abandoned and musty. Its spires are tall and needle-like. I wonder if the cold October wind will slam the door shut on us once we are inside, as karma for our trespass.  (nice)

     “But tonight will be the Harvest Moon!” she halts and spirals towards me, frisking around and singing the age-old chant. “The Harvest Moon! The Harvest Moon! / The nights and delights of the Harvest Moon! / Abandon within us all that is secular / Heaven and Hell reflect onto the specular!”

     She then stops bouncing, laughing and smiling at her silliness. Her eyes gleam are the prettiest shade of indigo. (nice)

     “Ok,” I sigh. Happy with the fact that I accepted her persuasion. Angela punches my shoulder in triumph knocks her fist playfully into my shoulder and sprints inside.

     The initial floor, the church itself does not entertain her for long. She rushes upstairs where but[ the library upstairs captivates her. I am aware of the fact know that she cannot read, but I let her tear flip through the  books despite this.

     She says impatiently, “Damon, come along, haven’t you heard me?”

     My focus had been on a song in A minor in the background, but I snap my attention back to her. “I must have not heard you…Sorry,  what–”   (Is the song in his head, or in the church??)

     “Shh,” she whispers. “Follow me.”

     There’s a short black staircase leading upstairs which we ascend. scale up it. We stop at the fourth floor, a continuation of the library, and Angela slips towards a window.

     “Ah. I knew I heard something from outside…” she says. “The view is magical from up here!”

     As I inspect the window, or rather, what was through it, I see the population of my city, dressed for elaborate festivity, massing into one circle of bodies, arms linked together in another’s, creating the sign of the full moon around the city block. They are people who seem content with the  song's desolate harmony in the song [s]that moves around them[/s]. As the formation of their circle continues, I feel a spike in my A minor music and the tone gyrates to a quick rhythm with obnoxious jarring?? accents.

     “They must be celebrating the Harvest Moon tonight,” Angela says. “Look, the sky is such a vibrant orange. The color has so much significance to us.”

     I would have questioned her observation  somewhat uncanny observation of the annual holiday had the music been quieter. The melodies never bothered me until this moment, and as the intangible (You've used intangible above...try a different adjective - eg "elusive" ) notes penetrate my mind, rap against my skull, I plead with my internal symphony to revert to the previous A minor number.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2022, 02:29:23 AM by susan-louise »

Offline oliviamauthor

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Re: ANGEL BY DEMON Fantasy (First 5 Pages)
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2022, 10:37:10 AM »
Awesome, thank you!! And thank you for taking the time to write that all out!! My critique partners had similar sentiments about wanting more clarity about the setting and the characters’ relationships to one another so I’ll definitely go back to tweak those parts. When you say something “jars”, you mean that it’s taking the reader out of the story experience?

Offline susan-louise

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Re: ANGEL BY DEMON Fantasy (First 5 Pages)
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2022, 12:50:50 PM »
Exactly.  When I say "jarred" it's like you are being interrupted when watching a film you love, and then can't get back into it..

All easily fixed with edits.  Best of luck with this, Olivia.


Offline roseydreamerx

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Re: ANGEL BY DEMON Fantasy (First 5 Pages)
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2022, 02:36:56 PM »
   

  The crow that lights lights? Do you mean lands? If not, this is confusing. on the oak has the biggest beak I've seen on a bird.I actually quite like this opening. It's evocative. I can see the bird in my mind.  I would remove what I've striked, as I feel it is redundent and takes away from the line. Its little Perhaps beady? eyes scope New Orient city as it perches on a branchYou've already told us it has landed on the oak, no need to beat us over the head. I can imagine its sharp mind is taking note of the dead, sandy-rocky land sandy rock land... do you mean desert? I understand if you're trying to paint a picture but this sounds strange to me around us, or perhaps and maybe?the brilliant orange sky above.

     Its head then Redundant. Every word needs to fight for its place in your manuscript. If removing a word doesn't remove anything, maybe it shouldn't be there. curves in my direction, meeting my eyes You used eyes earlier, so perhaps gaze here?and throwing open its mouth in a rivetingFeels like you're telling me the scene is riveting rather than showing me it is, sudden jerk. The perimeter of it's beak is lined with a row of razor-edged teeth Lined around the perimeter of the beak is a single row of deadly, razor-edged triangles.

     I wince; they shouldn’t have teeth like that. I suppose with such fangs, these birds must require a most talented dentist. I like your voice here!

     Ms. Selina, You're telling and not showing againsingle mother of two, has narrow eyes that are bitter and focused on the spire as she makes her way further across the rocky paths that lead up to it. Perhaps: Ms Selina's narrow, bitter eyes are focused on the spire ahead as she makes her way up the rocky path. Its been awhile since I’ve seen her so intense. She moves keepsseveral paces ahead, and doesn’t slow down when I try to catch up to her.

     Angela, dressed in blue, runs ahead of me to catch up to Ms. Selina before I can, and giggles when my jaw drops in shock. Within a second I speed up and barrel the thirteen-year-old over, and she lets out a playful “Hey! Watch out, Damon!” and pushes me back. Our friendship has the literal push-and-pull of sibling rivalry, though I suppose now I am her step-brother, at least while under her mother’s guardianship.

     Ms. Selina swivels around at once.

     We silence.

     Since we’ve been in New Orient city, I’ve known that speaking is a great taboo in this family. Ms. Selina has never given us a straightforward answer for it. She just wants Angela and I to be silent, and that is the end of it. “Talking is pointless,” I recall her saying, “at this age you have nothing important to say.” This is great, I hate Ms Selina already

     Honestly, it never doesn'tbothers me. I have the music to entertain me. Every morning my ears sigh under the familiar melodies and harmonies, all twisting through the world in an intangible beauty. I always find myself wondering which songs are my family’s favorites, but, with obedience, I never ask.

     Angela is the relentless one in our group; I can’t even remember how often many timesMs. Selina would haspreached about her being the least favorite of the three of us. Angela always finds something to smile about or an arbitrary question to ask, and it really screws with Ms. Selina’s parenting.

     Miranda, Angela's younger sister, is in Ms. Selina’s arms, dying.  I can see that the ten-year-old’s brunette hair is flat and herface is pale. Her voice gasps and croaks with illness as we continue forward. I’m surprised Ms. Selina is going through with taking her to the plague crow today. I noticed we walked past an advertisement on Nightmare Valley Way, an illustration of a crow in plague doctor getup offering healthcare services in lieu of human doctors. I again glance at the oak, and the crow I saw atop it earlier.

     While Ms. Selina casts her apathy upon us, I guess one of our deaths on her conscience is too sinister even for her to imagine, and Miranda’s illness has progressed beyond home remedy. So now, the crow waits for her.

     Just as Angela and I catch up to Ms. Selina, she waves her hand to signal us to stop.

     “We’re here.” She notifies us, and we sit down, calm, watching as she carries Miranda down the final cobblestone path.

     Unable to help myself, I tell Angela to stay back. I sneak around the corner of the street, and from the shadows, watch Ms. Selina take Miranda to the crow.

     It’s hard for me to see, but once they reach the end of that street, I make out the figure of the large blue-black crow poking out of the tree’s crown and hopping over the branches towards them. The crow’s objects, instruments, animal parts and potions aretied to the tree branches,jinglingas the crow flaps through them. The crow now wears a flat, round top hat which I assume it has thrifted, and a monocle.

     The crow investigates Miranda by tapping her with a twiggy branch which it holds with its foot, first noting her physical condition by humming and then cutting its talons through her skin to get a sample of her blood. It does so carefully, dripping her blood into a small scrying bowl, and then hopping back beside her to trace wild loops and curves along her veins and arteries with its thin talons.

     Miranda is deathly still as the plague crow does this to her. After a few moments of it rattling around its collection of needles, she speaks up in a sweetly accented, frightened voice.

     “Please, sir. Whatever you do, do not let it hurt for too long.”

     Ms. Selina is silent as the plague crow begins treatment. I watch, mesmerized, as the plague crow finishes with the needles then snaps Miranda’s neck between its carnivorous fangs. I stifle a horrified gasp.

     The crow drags her body, an awkward shuffle with its wings in its own way, back towards ashen-faced Ms. Selina, and cranes its neck forward, tipping its sharp, fanged beak right up at her. For something so little it could be stomped on under Ms. Selina’s feet, the bird appears brave and conniving. “There is no hope,” says the crow, before it flies away.

     Ms. Selina’s expression collapses in wordless tears and she turns away from the image of her murdered daughter. I hurry back to stand beside Angela and watch out for flying shadows with terrible beaks. While we wait for Ms. Selina to return from under the crow’s tree, which never happens, Angela nudges me.

     “It still is not yet sundown,” Angela whispers, eyes bright and alive. “While Miranda has her plague doctor's appointment, we can sneak off to play our games by the church, Damon! Mother will be busy and won’t care where we are until later!”

     This would be a healthy distraction from the dark truth about her little sister she’ll inevitably find out. Easily persuaded, I nod in agreement, allowing her to indulge me in her adventures. Giggling, Angela tumbles forward across the road and throws her gaze to the sky. She races around as she pinpoints the destination of our play; the sturdy but vintage spire that’s not far off. She hurries me up the stairs that lead to the massive wooden door frame of the church. “The clock tower up there will strike soon, dear friend! I want to hear the chime from the top.”

      “You could just hear it from here,” I say. It’s a small but hopeful attempt to reason with her. This church is abandoned and musty. Its spires are tall and needlelike. I wonder if the cold October wind will slam the door shut on us once we are inside, as karma for our trespass.

     “But tonight will be the Harvest Moon!” she halts and spirals towards me, frisking around and singing the age-old chant. “The Harvest Moon! The Harvest Moon! / The nights and delights of the Harvest Moon! / Abandon within us all that is secular / Heaven and Hell reflect onto the specular!

     She then stops bouncing, laughing and smiling at her silliness. Her eyes gleam the prettiest shade of indigo.

     “Ok,” I say. Happy with the fact that I accepted her persuasion, Angela knocks her fist playfully into my shoulder and sprints inside.

     The initial floor, the church, does not entertain her for long, but the library upstairs captivates her. I am aware of the fact that she cannot read, but I let her tear through the books despite this.

     She says, “Damon, come along, haven’t you heard me?”

     My focus had been on a song in A minor in the background, but I snap my attention to her. “I must have not heard you… what–”

     “Shh,” she whispers. “Follow me.”

     There’s a short black staircase leading upstairs and we scale up it. We stop at the fourth floor, a continuation of the library, and Angela slips towards a window.

     “Ah. I knew I heard something from outside…” she says, “the view is magical from up here!”

     As I inspect the window, or rather, what was is through it, I see the population of my city, dressed for elaborate festivity, massing into one circle of bodies, arms linking in another’s, creating the sign of the full moon around the city block. They are people who seem content with this desolate harmony in the song that moves around them. As the formation of their circle continues, I feel a spike in my A minor music and the tone gyrates to a quick rhythm with obnoxious accents.

     “They must be celebrating the Harvest Moon tonight,” Angela says. “Look, the sky is such a vibrant orange. The color has so much significance to us.”

     I would have questioned her somewhat uncanny observation of the annual holiday had the music been quieter. The melodies never bothered me until this moment, and as the intangible notes rap against my skull, I plead my internal symphony to revert to the previous A minor number.


You have a habit of switching tenses that is most likely a reoccurring issue throughout your manuscript.

Offline oliviamauthor

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Re: ANGEL BY DEMON Fantasy (First 5 Pages)
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2022, 06:53:34 PM »
Thank you, roseydreamerx! Those are great edits. I’m waiting to hear back from a freelance editor so if she has similar advice, I’ll definitely be making those line edits! After editing, is the story’s voice and plot doing its job of compelling you to keep reading?