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Excerpt from Haven

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Excerpt from Haven

Postby Raesd » Sun Nov 05, 2006 8:47 pm

~This isn't the beginning, but it is from somewhere earlier into the story, so I'm hoping you won't be too confused. Just a random piece from my story of the last few months, titled Haven. Comments appreciated but not demanded. Enjoy ^^ ~

The fields of swaying tulips was unnerving to the passengers of the train as they moved through the countryside, bloody petals stretching out in an endless sea until they reached the ice caped mountains. To the travelers in the last car, though, the feeling ran deeper. Even the breeze that played across the windows carried a sense of unrest upon its back.

It was the elderly woman in the corner, clutching her handbag tightly as she stared out over the land, who finally broke the silence. “So if I heard correctly, you said there was a station within walking distance of the castle?”

Doctor Shiloh smiled, although the action did not reach her eyes. Her own hands were entwined with those of the man beside her, a friendly if quiet individual who had a habit of interrupting his girlfriend’s speeches when they tended to run too long.

“There is a small station directly in front of Haven, Ms. Lain,” she told the older woman, who merely nodded and continued her study of the flowers. “Andrew’s great-grandfather could afford such things when the castle was built.” The man beside her nodded.

In the far seats away from the door, the others listened to the conversation in silence, each deep within their own thoughts. Sara Avery watched her sister, wondering what the mysterious Haven would have in store for the little girl. Being the only member of their group without abilities, she wondered at Ashley’s place. The gentleman beside her was well into his thirties, the others only slightly younger, and Ashley was nine.

“There is no need to worry for your sister,” the man whispered, catching her off guard. Seeing her shake, he smiled warmly and extended his hand. “Sorry if I scared you. Nathan Blair.”

Allowing his charm to overcome her shock, Sara took his hand and returned the smile. “Sara Avery, and this is Ashley. How did you…?”

“My own special little gift,” he told her, throwing sharp glance at the last member of their company, a man who quickly looked aware as he realized he’d been caught staring. “And what would your name be, then?”

“Se-Seamus Reilly,” the man spat out, a slight lisp slurring his name into a soft hiss. “And what I do is none of your business.”

“Suit yourself,” Nathan said, winking at Sara before turning back to his book. She gave a sigh of relief and sank lower into her seat, sliding an arm around Ashley’s shoulders as the girl continued play with her blond tresses, braiding and unbraiding as she stared into space.

No more than an hour later, the train rolled to a shuddering halt and the last car emptied, leaving the seven strangers alone as the machine regained speed and fled from sight. They watched one another warily, waiting for the woman who had brought them together to step forward.

Amanda Shiloh did so quickly, flashing them quick look before setting down her bag and giving their circle a longer, harder look. To the eye they were nothing extraordinary, a group of people that couldn’t be found together on an ordinary day no matter how hard one looked. It filled her with a sense of pride that she had done so well, given the circumstances.

“Although most of you know me, I’ll start off by introducing myself. My name is Amanda Shiloh, and I’m a scientist from the Institute of Research and Development from Arizona. I am also clairvoyant.” She gestured to the man at her side. “This is a good friend of mine, Andrew Faal. He is the owner of Haven and has agreed to join us because of his knowledge of the inside.”

“Excuse me, Doctor Shiloh?” It was the older woman, Vivian Lain, her hand held hesitantly in the air. “It may seem a little rude for me to ask, but do you suppose you could jump forward a bit faster and tell us why we’re here.”

Amanda saw the expectant look in their eyes and gave a silent growl of frustration before nodding. “It’s quite alright, Ms. Lain. You’re all here because I chose you to be here.” She took a deep breath, slowly exhaling before she started again. “Three weeks ago, I received a distress call from an unknown sender. It was definitely psychic, and I have come to believe that the person…maybe be trapped within Haven.”

“But why us?” the shifty man, Seamus, demanded.

“With clairvoyance, I was able to watch your powers at work, and asked you to join me once I realized you were the best in your field. It allowed me to see exactly what each of you can do.” She saw the young woman, Sara, glance down at her sister, and smirked. “Yes, Ms. Avery. I’m aware of Ashley’s powers as well.”

"I must express a slight curiosity in how you found us in the first place, Doctor Shiloh.” It was the telepath, Nathan Blair, a small frown on his otherwise smooth brow.

“Tricks of the trade, Mr. Blair. In time, maybe I’ll share.” She smiled and turned to gesture toward the door. Shall we, then?”

As they begin to move forward, Amanda allowed her smirk to widen into a larger smile, stray brown curls pulling free of her clasp to sway in the breeze. They seemed content with her brief explanation for now, which would give her better ground for what would come later.

It wasn’t until the others were a few feet ahead that she became aware she was being watched. Nathan Blair, who was walking alongside Andrew only a handful of steps behind, was studying her intently, and she quickly ushered all thoughts from her mind, instead glancing out the corners of her eyes to give him an more thorough examine.

He was a tall man, and rail-like, though not without strength, his thin face oddly boyish for his 36 years. Azure eyes glowed under graying blond hair, set deep in a tanned face that was creased only by small laughing lines at the corners of his eyes. Despite her relationship with Andrew, Amanda had to admit that Nathan was attractive, which made his charm that much better of a shield for his strong telepathic abilities. If he was even close to being as good as she suspected he was, she was going to have to watch him closely.

The dark castle watched silently as its guests gathered at the door, it’s peaked towers stretching high into the light blue sky. At the highest of them, a stained glass window glowed in the soft light. If any of group had thought to look, only the colored glass would have shown, and so they would have missed the woman hidden on the other side, her mouth a silent O as she screamed for them to run.
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Postby DannoE » Wed Nov 08, 2006 3:05 pm

Interesting. I'm surprised that's not the beginning. I'd be curious to know how you opened it.

I'll be honest, I'm not that big a fan of superhero-type stories outside the Big 2 comic producers for the simple fact that I think they get done to death in the mainstream without the help of independents. With that said, this was a nice intro. I was fully prepared not to care at all, but you got my attention anyway, and now I'm curious to know what happens next.

Nice job here.

I could probably add some specific crits, but I don't think you really need them yet. If you post more, I'll read it and maybe have more to say then.

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Postby Raesd » Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:39 pm

I'm not really into superstars either....I just like the idea of a house that eats people is all.

I'm a little surprised and extremely happy that it caught your attention, and thank you for the comment!
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Postby Ariel » Sat Nov 25, 2006 6:44 am

Interesting story. It caught my attention as well.
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Postby Scriven » Sat Nov 25, 2006 11:24 am

I didn't get a good sense of POV from the piece. Who's eyes are we watching this scene from?

I think the lack of a strong POV really harmed this scene, especially your opening sentence. Instead of just saying the passengers were unnerved, which they all couldn't have been, it would read stronger I think like this:

The fields of swaying tulips as the train passed unnerved Nathan as the train moved through the countryside. The red petals stretching out in an endless sea blood until in front of ice caped mountains.

I think something like that would be much more gripping and personal, and that's what I think readers respond to.
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Postby kormic » Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:54 am

The fields of swaying tulips as the train passed unnerved Nathan as the train moved through the countryside. The red petals stretching out in an endless sea blood until in front of ice caped mountains.

I think this passage should be something like:

Nathan watched as the train, rolling through the countryside, shook the tulips in its passing; the red petals strewn out in their endless red reaching as far as the icy mountains in the distance.

One must be careful of repeating conjunctions, as as is, in the same sentence. :roll: It cramps ones style.
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