In the tiny kitchen, dim and shabby, Paul hunches over a steaming cup of coffee. His chapped hands dwarf the mug, the center of his attention, as if it had the power to warm his soul. His rimless, square glasses are fogged. His hair is unkempt and grey. The collar of his tattered Coast Guard jacket is popped up. He doesn't shiver. Rocks don't shiver. He doesn't look up, but seems to narrate directly to the coffee. "I felt it coming, you know. I really did. I even ducked. When I looked up they'd all stopped." He half laughs, a sound hardly more than a syllable. "heh, The Moment, they call it. Only it never ends, right? I wonder which ones of us are really asleep. Is it really them? What if we're the ones sleeping? What if this is all a bad dream?"
He stares into the murky depths of his mug. "I'm the one who found it. Sea monsters; never believed in them. Never knew anyone who did. Sailors are supposed to be superstitious, but that's only because "Moby Dick" is required reading. It wasn't like that, though. It wasn't like any half-rotted carcass that's ever washed up on any shore on any beach ever. I wont go down there again. Not to that beach. Somethings can't be washed clean, even by the sea."
The young boys eyes widen in awe. “A sea monster sir?” his voice cracks with the tension. Fear and excitement fight each other for authority over his small frame. “Is that whats almost got you? I mean, I'ms sure its yous thats got away. I mean, yous here ain't yas?” The boy searches the hardened man's face with curious eyes and an involuntary whimper squeezes from his constricted throut.
Posts: 108 | Registered: Jan 2011
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Paul examines the kid through his foggy lenses. As always he can see thoughts and emotions, an overlay of light spilling out from the boy's body. The fear is a yellow glow under his chin, as if he'd swallowed a light-bulb. The excitement shines out in rule-strait pink rays from below his rib cage. Curiosity flickers a sickly green, as if his fingers are strange candles.
Paul looks away, again, guilty for having inspired these feelings in his young friend. He hadn't meant to be anyone's hero. "No. It was all ready dead when I found it. I could just see its last thoughts flickering away. I've never since seen so much fear. It didn't know where it was, why it was in so much pain. Only an intelligent creature can feel that much fear. The end must have been a blessing to it." He looks up and distorts his face into what he hopes is a reassuring smile, "Don't worry, kid, the dead can't hurt you. Not if you don't let them."
"It was dead? Um, or I mean dying I guess. But it is dead now? So you got it! You killed it right? It must have been terrifying. But, but, for you, I'm sure you were afraid. I mean, You could tell if it was angry right?" The boy stammers, uncertain if he had said what he meant, or if the words came out faster than his thoughts could organize themselves. After a brief pause to organize his thoughts, the boy tries again. "Were you scared sir?" he nearly whispers, taking in the pain in the older man's eyes.
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(OOC: Crane, I noticed here and several times in your contributions to the K&A thread phrases like this pop up:
quote:His chapped hands dwarf the mug, the center of his attention, *as if it had the power to warm his soul*.
Now it wouldn't stand out so much but your imagination and descriptive powers are so vivid. After having a picture painted in our head by the narration, I find it jarring being left on my own to come up with my own picture of what a phrase like "as if it had the power..." means, how it is supposed to alter the picture you've put in our heads.
I think it's easier to get away with this in first person narration, where we'd attribute this kind of vaguely poetic simile to the personality of the narrator. You might be able to get away with it if you are using third person indirect and have got the reader deep inside the POV character's head. I sometimes use a technique a bit like it where I'll have the third person narrator simply speak the POV character's internal dialog without tagging or attribution, even taking on a shade of the POV character's speech patterns.
But in third person omniscient, or third person limited when the reader is still cold, I think it works better to use sneaky word choices to emotionally color the picture. For example, rather than letting the reader's understanding supply the default verb "hold" to describe what Paul is doing with the cup, perhaps he's "caressing" it. )
Sure, all sailors aren't necessarily superstitious cap'n, but I've never met one that didn't have a few sea stories. You know, the yarns that start out like this:"There I was..." if it's a tale of nautical derring-do, or "Seriously, this is no ****..." if it's one to send a chill up your spine.
Got anything of your own along along those lines? Ever heard any stories about things like that abomination on the beach that wasn't obviously a cager's yarn?