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Just Us - Story in development


SpeccsOps

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First of all, let me introduce myself. My name's Luke and I'm an avid gamer. I am also however a very enthusiastic writer, who spent most of his free time at home writing short stories to pass the time. Recently I have been writing a story based in America, and structured around a Zombie Apocalypse. Pretty standard, I know, however this has always been one of my favourite film/book themes and I have always admired people like George A. Romero who is a well-known film director, screen writer and producer. He produced one of my favourite films, Dawn of the Dead, and since that film I have always been fascinated with the living dead. Call me creepy, a necrophiliac, whatever, it's something I'm interested in. :evilgrin:

 

Anyway, onto the story. I'll write a little synopsis for you and then I'll paste the story, with a character list. I'm only half way through the second chapter, so it's a little bit of an abrupt ending.

 

The story is structured in two ways, alternating between time zones. In the first chapter, it's set after the apocalypse, and in the second chapter, it's before it - always from the same person's perspective. I'm hoping to continue this throughout the story until the ending when I will repeat the first line of the first chapter, so in theory the time zone before the apocalypse catches up with the other time zone. It'll be hard and confusing but I think I can pull it off.

 

The story is based around a man called Charlie Porter, who is very highly recommended security agent. He has a wife, who isn't mentioned at the beginning of the story - I want readers to assume she has turned, or no longer alive. He gets thrown into this apocalyptic world with his best friend, Kenny Spinster, and they've been together since the outbreak. However, in the first chapter you can already sense that they've grown apart due to differences. In some ways, it reflects the relationship Rick and Shane have in AMC's The Walking Dead, however I do not wish to copy the plot or characters of that television show, albeit a great show.

 

Anyway, there is a group of survivors who have many differences but are a very tightly knit bunch of people. They end up struggling to survive and they meet and lose people on the way. Your typical zombie story.

 

I believe my grammar, vocabulary and spelling are on point in this story but I'd like some constructive criticism where possible. Here we go...

 

Charlie Porter - Main Character, served as security for many different organisations and celebrities.
Raymond Forrest - Married to Claire, was a lawyer and Charlie's best friend
Kenny Spinster - Electrical engineer and best friends with Mark. Very close to Linda before the outbreak.
Mark (X) - Chef for a large restaurant in New York, Kenny's best friend.
Martha Martins - Outsider of the group, worked as a flourist. Married to Greg.
Linda O'Connell - A very close friend of Kenny's and a driving instructor.
Jessica O'Brien - Sister to Miranda, close to graduating from college. Took a first-aid course when she was 16 and a part time lifeguard for her school.
Miranda O'Brien - Sister to Jessica, very intelligent and interested in literature. She can read maps, find bearings and give directions.
Claire Forrest - Wife to Raymond, and liked by the group. Often seem to be Raymond's shadow, with little say on what goes on.
Greg Martins (X) - Charismatic man but a hot-head, got the group into trouble a few times. No one besides Martha knew his occupation and she isn't willing to disclose that information.

 

 

Just Us

1

August twelfth, 2017 – We were pinned down – no escape. We had them all over us and I didn't know what to do. Charlie, he just bottled out man... I had to act on my initiative! Greg saved our lives plenty of times but he was a liability... he wasn't safe! We couldn't have that hot-head running around blaring his guns – besides, only a handful of people will miss him! I had people to think about; lives to save and most importantly Claire to protect. Charlie thinks he can protect this group but he can't, and when people realise that... we'll have hell on our hands...” - Extract from Raymond's diary.

 

The crackling and humming of the camp fire reflected the mood of the group. Impatient and restless. Everybody wanted answers to questions no one wanted to ask. 'What happened to Greg?', 'What do we do now, Charlie?', 'Are we gonna' be okay?'. Truth is, I didn't know the answer to any of those – all I knew is that Ray did something with Greg back at the impound and my people wanted the truth. I hadn't seen Ray for hours, nor his wife, Claire. They took their SUV and left about half an hour ago – God knows when they'd be back.

“Hey Mark, can you pat that fire down? We don't want to attract the biters, especially when we're this spread out” I questioned.

“Sure man”, he replied, “It's starting to get really cold at night. Winter is gonna' be a struggle”. Mark was a tall African-American man who wore a grey beanie hat. He had a stocky build and a round, dark beard.

“Hopefully we'll be settled some place nicer than this when Winter comes,”.

I knew we most likely wouldn't, but camp morale was crucial for survival in those times, and besides, hope can't hurt anyone.

Our camp was in the middle of a musky forest, about twenty minutes from any roads. The trees gave perfect cover from the entities that were hunting us and roots made it easy to land snares. It was rare that we ever caught something, but at this time it didn't matter; we had just raided a supermarket whilst passing through Sharon, Massachusetts, and picked up more than enough rations. We were surprised that nobody had already got to it.

All of a sudden we heard the revving of an engine in the distance. Kenny and Mark grabbed their rifles and I went for my holstered pistol. The two men were crouched behind bonnet of a Ford Fiesta, when Ray and his wife pulled up.

“Hey hey hey, it's only us!”, he exclaimed. Ray was a tall and slim man who wore a shirt and tie, and had slicked back hair. His wife, Claire, was a small woman with curly blonde hair and a young face.

“Where have you been? We've been worried sick!” I replied, placing my pistol back into it's holster.

“Me and Claire just had to take a break, you know how it gets round here”.

Mark and Kenny started to chuckle, but the expression on my face remained. I turned on my heels and made my way over to my green and burgundy tent. Ray followed closely, whilst Claire went off to mingle with the few people we had left.

“What's up with you?” Ray asked, rubbing the back of his head.

“What's up with me?”, I replied, “You wanna' know what's up with me? I've got Miranda and Jessica playing up and not taking this sh*t seriously; I've got Kenny and Mark looking at me for answers; I've got you and Claire disappearing; and then I've got Martha wondering where her husband is. That's what up with me.” I frowned sternly and I had begun to sweat.

“Charlie, you need to calm down. Martha will get over Greg and then we can focus on getting out of here”, Ray responded, and that was when I cracked. The anger and spite grew inside me and before any one could stop me I had forced my fist into Raymond's jaw. He fell onto his back, and a cut appeared on his left cheek bone. Kenny rushed over to stop me before I tried to attack him again. He grabbed onto my shoulders and moved be back, as Ray got to his feet. He went for his side arm, and Claire screamed out, “Ray! No!”. He looked towards her, and put his gun back.

“What the hell is wrong with you man?! You think you're some big man because you can take someone by surprise?!”, he taunted.

“You think that Martha will get over Greg? That's her husband you asshole! Her husband is missing and we don't even know what happened to him! But you do... You were the last person with him and you haven't said a word to her!”, I was outraged, and the adrenaline inside me made me want to kill him.

“What are you insinuating? You think... You think that I killed Greg? Do you think I'm that kind of person?”, Ray responded, “I loved Greg? We used to be pals even before the out-break. I wouldn't do that to him”.

“I just think it's a little weird that's all, and besides...”, I was interrupted by the sound of groaning in the distance. The biters must have noticed our argument and were heading this way.

“Kenny! Get Martha and Linda and bring them here! Ray, take Mark and Claire and get to the road! I'll go and grab Jessica and Miranda! We'll meet at the T-Junction up north!”, and with that, I ran towards the purple tent that was on the other side of our camp. Kenny sprinted towards the two girls' tent, pistol-whipping a biter on the head when he got there. Ray had ran off and left Mark to fight off three biters by himself, and went straight for Claire.

“Ray!”, Mark shouted, as he fell to the floor with his rifle holding off a biter.

Jessica and Miranda were sat inside the tent, but a biter was outside. I pulled the knife out that I had attached to my boot, and impaled the thing's head. It fell onto the tent, and a scream from inside the tent roared throughout the camp.

“It's okay! I'm here, just come out! We gotta' go!”, I shouted to the girls, as I turned around and stabbed another biter up through the jaw and into it's brain. They opened the tent and hid behind me. They were both seventeen and I hated them being in this environment – I had known them before the outbreak, my friend's daughters. He was taken early on in the spread but I took them in. Jess was a tall brunette with pearl grey eyes, whereas Miranda was a short and stumpy girl, who had 'strawberry blonde' coloured hair – or at least that's what she called it.

“What do we do Charlie?” Jess questioned.

“Get to my car, we're meeting the others just outside the forest.”, I responded, and with that we ran over to the Ford. A few followed us, but they were quickly dealt with by my pistol.

“Come on now, hurry up.”, I urged, as they got into the car. I shot the last one in the head, and got into my car. Turning the ignition on, I pressed on my horn three times and left through the clearing.

Kenny was already in the car with Martha and Linda, when he noticed a group of biters surrounding a body.

“Mark...”, he whispered, as he watched his best friend's entrails get shared about like they were party food.

“Come on Kenny, let's go, we can mourn him later.”, Martha said, as she buckled up and closed her door. Kenny drove out through a different clearing, a tear rolling down his cheek and his hands clenching the wheel.

Within minutes the camp was overrun, and our entire group – minus Mark – was free from the hoard. The T-Junction was only a twenty minute drive from our camp, so the regroup shouldn't have taken long.

 

*****

Ray and Claire were already there when I arrived, he was sat on the bonnet of the car and Claire was sorting the supplies she had brought. I pulled up adjacent to their vehicle, and waited for Kenny.

“Where's Mark?” I asked, as the two girls got out of my car.

“Uh... I thought he was with you?” He replied, a nervous look landed on his face.

“No, I told you precisely who to get? How could you just forget him?”.

“I thought you were going to get him! Maybe he's with Kenny.”, he said, holding the back of his neck.

I knew he wouldn't be with Kenny, and it would hit the group hard. The eight of us had lost enough people already, and the death of another was not going to help the camp's spirit.

A few minutes passed, and a car arrived, pulling up just in front of the other two. Kenny didn't look happy. He flung his door open and stepped out, slowly followed by Martha and Linda.

“Hey Kenny, let me explain;”, Ray spoke first, but was quickly interrupted by Kenny.

“Explain what Ray? That for the second time one of our own has been taken, and you're accountable?,” Kenny said, rage filling his blood shot eyes.

“Kenny that's an unfair assumption, Raymond was protecting his wife.”, Linda spoke up, and Kenny's head darted towards her.

“Claire was in the car away from the biters! Ray didn't help Mark! He always said we had too many in our group!”, Kenny preached, and with this he walked off back to his car. Raymond was visibly distraught over all of the scrutiny from the others.

“I'm gonna' take some time out. Let me know when you guys figure out a plan.”, Ray said, and began to walk off towards his car.

“Are you not going to help us figure out what we're going to do next?”, I questioned.

“Recently I seem to be f*ckin' things up. I think it's best if you sort this one out.” he replied, and sat on his car bonnet.

“Okay man, and by the way, sorry about earlier.”, I apologised, and looked at the floor.

“No hard feelings.”, he said, and faced away from me.

Kenny called me over, and when I arrived he was sat with Linda and Martha.

“Yeah? What's up?”, I responded, and knelt down beside the car.

“Well, go on...”, Kenny nodded at Martha. It was obvious she had something to say. Martha was a tall, black haired Caucasian woman who over recent weeks had become an outsider from the group.

“We're just a few miles from Massachusetts, which was where my driving school was. Our vehicles are low on fuel and most of them are battered up. We three thought that maybe it might be worth going there.”, she said, convinced by her plan.

“That's a solid idea, but is there anything else other than a driving school. That's a lot of gasoline for the possibility of a few cars. What about supermarkets? Gun stores?”, I questioned, trying not to seem interrogative.

“Uhh,” she hesitated, “There's 'Phil's Pills', a pharmacy and 'America's Finest', a light weapon store. I can't promise they haven't been raided, but that location is better than a T-Junction near a hoard of biters.” She finished, and looked back at Linda.

“Yeah I guess, I'll speak to the rest of the group and if they agree we'll make a move tomorrow. Thanks, Martha.” I said, and got up.

Jessica and Miranda were sat in the back on my truck, and when I approached they stopped whispering.

“What're you guys talking about?”, I asked, and leant against the car.

“We're just wondering about what happens next.” Miranda said, and I felt my heart break. These girls didn't know stability when their parents were alive, and they don't know it now.

“The group and I have been devising a plan. There's a town in Massachusetts, not far from here. It has weapons, medicine, and probably a good night's sleep there. I was actually coming over here to ask what you thought of the idea.” I said, and Jessica piped up.

“Massachusetts?! We've just been there and it's riddled with those things! Why are you sending us back?!”, she exclaimed.

“Hey hey hey”, I tried to calm her down, “Our group is fairly experienced with guns – We have Kenny who is good with his rifle, Ray has practised a lot with his shot gun and I'm a dead-eye with my revolver. There's less of us now too, so we'll be able to get in and out quickly”. Talking the plan back to myself, I realised that it wasn't too bad of an idea. Martha has been quiet since losing Greg, but she might have just offered our group a week's salvation or two.

“Whatever, I'll have to go where to group goes but I'm not happy”, Jessica replied, her mother's stubborn attitude showing through.

“I'll go, it sounds like a good idea and sitting here in the dark doesn't appeal to me very much”, Miranda chuckled, “When are we leaving?”.

“I'm gonna' talk to Ray and Claire, and we should have left by the morning.” I said to Miranda, and then grasped both of their shoulders, “It's going to be okay, I promise you”. I hated making promises I couldn't keep. With that, I moved away from my truck and started to walk towards Raymond's car. When I arrived, I didn't find Raymond – instead I found a note.

 

Me and Claire have decided to take our chances alone. The group will be better off without me and Claire doesn't like the tension. I've left a radio in the back seat with the same frequency as the one I have on me now. I'm not turning mine on for a few days so you can think about why I've left, instead of trying to contact me.

I wish you all the best of luck, and may our paths cross again one day.

Goodbye

The note didn't sink in for a few seconds, but then I realised that one of our strongest fighters, and my best friend, was now gone.

“Guys! You gotta see this!”, I shouted, and the group started to walk towards me.

“What's up Charlie? You probably shouldn't be raising your voice at this time of night”, Linda said, as she stood beside me. A couple of seconds passed, and then she continued, “Oh no... He can't protect Claire out there by himself! Charlie, you have to get onto that radio now! He might not be far”, she exclaimed, obviously distraught over Claire's departure.

“I can't. Didn't you read? He hasn't turned his on. We can't do anything about it now – we just have to continue with the aforementioned plan and get the hell out of dodge,” I said, whilst folding the note up and placing it into my pocket, “We'll sleep in the trucks tonight. Lock the doors, cover the windows and stay quiet; there's no point going at this time of night, we'll get lost and if we break down we're f*cked. Curfew in ten minutes guys.

The group slowly dispersed, and I stood there leaning on his bonnet. 'Why did he leave?', I thought to myself. I moved to the side of his truck, and opened the door to find the radio he wrote about. When I picked it up, I could feel it was still warm from his hands. I put it in the back pocket of my combat pants, and got into his truck. After pressing the knob down to lock all of the doors, I pulled across the curtains that covered his windows.

“Night guys!”, I heard Kenny say to the group, and a few doors slammed just after.

I put my head down on the back seat, and scrunched my legs up. Within minutes, I was unconscious.

2

“Charlie! What do you want for breakfast honey? I've made pancakes or you can have waffles,” Loretta called from downstairs, and I opened my crusty eyelids to the blinding sun light.

“Uhh', I'll be down in a sec, put me some waffles on please!” I shouted back, and lifted my head off the pillow. When I twisted round and put my feet onto the cold laminate flooring, I heard Loretta call again.

“Just put them in, they'll be a few minutes! I also got you the paper from the convenience store, you should see what's going on in Texas!” she yelled, angering my splintering headache.

“Thanks darling, I said I'll be down in a second!” I replied, and began to walk towards my bedroom door. I opened the door and shuffled along the hallway, looking like someone who had just risen from the dead. Taking a left, I continued to make my way downstairs, walking down twelve steps and reaching the kitchen. When I got there, Loretta was stood tending to the oven and singing softly to the radio.

“Morning,” I said, grabbing her attention as she turned round, “How many times do I tell you that you have a beautiful voice in a week?”. We both chuckled, and I sat down at the breakfast bar. Unfolding the paper, I read the headline:

 

Rioters Attack Oil Pump Workers In Texas – Several Police Units Respond With Firearms

“What the hell is this about? Some kind of revolution?” I said, turning to the full story on page 5.

“I don't know, but President Langley is going down there tomorrow to formally address the rioters on TV,” she told me as she turned the heat down on the waffles, “Hey, read that to me, I only saw the headline”.

“Uhh'... Ahh! Here we go: 'A group of twenty-seven people swarmed oil pumps in Dallas yesterday, killing 4 oil pump workers and injuring a further seven. The identities of the culprits are unknown, but victims who survived the attack say that they looked somewhat homeless, and were groaning loudly when they attacked. When police officers arrived, the rioters refused to surrender and tried to attack the police. They responded with gunfire that killed all twenty-seven rioters',”.

“That's unbelievable... What's happening to this country?” Loretta said, serving the syrup covered waffles on a plate.

“I don't know, but if the President is making an appearance it must be serious,” I said, and with that my cellphone began to ring, “Charlie Porter speaking”.

“Mr Porter, it's Polly Vincetti from the President's office. We understand that you're in the security business, and your references speak of you highly. We'd like to offer you the job of safeguarding the President when he travels to Dallas tomorrow. It's $5,000 for the whole ordeal and you'll have all expenses paid for whilst you're there – including accommodation and drinks at the bar”, the woman's voice on the phone was soft as she relayed the information to me.

“Uhh', wow. That's a fantastic opportunity... I'd be very happy to take it up”, I said, looking up to Loretta with a smile.

“Very well, your car will be there at 6 a.m tomorrow to pick you up and then you will proceed to the airport where you will meet President Langley”, she said, taking a pause, “we thank you for your services and look forward to seeing you”.

“You too Ms. Vincetti, I look forward to seeing you”, I said, and hung up the phone. Loretta was already looking at me with a concerned expression on her face.

“What was that about darling? It sounded important”, she said, moving towards the table and pulling up a chair.

“The president wants me to accompany him to Dallas...”, I told her, holding the back of my neck and looking at her with a half-smile.

“Well that's fantastic... How much are you making?”, she replied, trying her hardest to seem happy for me.

“It's five thousand dollars for three days. That's more than any job I've previously had for such little time”, I said, trying to win her over. She replied with a bleak smile, but then stood up and went to the cooker again; “What's up baby? This is an amazing opportunity for us, and it means we can easily decorate the baby's room”, I said, anticipating our unborn child.

“Yeah I mean, it's a really good opportunity, but are you sure it's safe? Especially with what happened yesterday”, she explained, expressing her concern. “I'm currently holding your child inside me and I don't want the uncertainty of not knowing whether or not you're going to be coming home after your contracts”.

“Loretta, I've been in this job for years. I've protected ambassadors overseas; I've escorted A-list celebrities through various places, even Harlem for Christ's sake”, I explained with a chuckle, “I think I can handle a few alcoholics trying to cause a scene at an oil plant”.

“I guess you're right, but I'm not happy about it”, she said, looking up at me with a smile.

“You will be when I hand you that money”, I replied, holding her neck and kissing her head, “anyway, I need to head out and get some stuff for tomorrow”.

“But your waffles?”, she said with her puppy dog eyes.

“Hey, you've got to eat for two now, go wild. Besides, I have a splitting head ache so sugar probably isn't the best thing for me”.

“Okay then, but I'ma cook you something up when you get back, you need your energy for tomorrow”, she said, picking up my plate off of the table and placing it in front of her.

“If you insist gorgeous”, I said, whilst standing up and grabbing my car keys, “You're too good to me you know that?”.

“You don't have to tell me that”, she replied with a mouthful of waffles, and with that I walked through to the hallway. Placing on my shoes, I unlocked the door and stepped out towards my SUV.

 

 

 

 

 

Like I said, it's cut off pretty briefly but that's because it's still in production.

 

If you have any views, praises or criticism please tell me, I didn't spend half an hour writing this post and a week writing this story for nothing. xD

 

Luke

 

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Mokrie Dela

Hey, Luke. Welcome.

 

I don't have time to go through all of it now, but I'll do some, and come back for the rest.

 

 

My first note is the introduction. I don't like seeing stories with character lists, or an explanation why you wrote it or what it's about. Let the story do that job for you. Let the characters introduce themselves. A well developed character is complex and deep, and you can't really sum them up and do them justice in one sentence. That said, I can't blame you for a little introduction, but keep it short. Let us get to the story. Add any footnotes you want after.

Just Us

1

August twelfth, 2017 – We were pinned down – no escape.

 

I'd use fullstops (periods) instead of emdashes here. em-dashes usually signify an elaboration digression or explanation or something like that,

August twelfth, 2017. We were pinned down. No escape.

 

To me, it's sharper, snappier, and has more of a punch. Three short, quick jabs of sentences, as opposed to a longer, expanded one. A minor point, i concede.

 

We had them all over us and I didn't know what to do. Charlie, he just bottled out, man...

You might notice I added a comma at the end here. Simply put, when a sentence is addressing someone, a comma is always used. "Are you going to school, Luke?" - not "Are you going to school Luke?" and that applies to informal addresses like "dude" "man" or whatever. "Charlie, he just bottled out, man."

I'd also consider using ellipses after "charlie" for emotional impact - a bit of delay.

"Charlie... he just bottled out, man." - the ellipses (...) signify hesitation, perhaps reflection, regret - a space for the narrator/character to think. Read it outloud and you'll see what I mean: "charlie, he just bottled out, man." "Charlie... he just bottled out, man."
Might not be exactly what you want, but thought i'd mention it.

 

I had to act on my initiative![1] Greg saved our lives plenty of times but he was a liability... he wasn't safe![1] We couldn't have that hot-head running around blaring his guns – besides, only a handful of people will miss him![1] I had people to think about; lives to save and most importantly Claire to protect. Charlie thinks he can protect this group but he can't, and when people realise that... we'll have hell on our hands...” - Extract from Raymond's diary.

 

[1] I would use a standard full stop, here. Exclamation marks, i've found, are a little cliched, but mostly, it doesn't add anything really here. It's a sentence that's got forced impact, and to me, at least, that actually takes it away. Perhaps it's a personal thing, but i rarely see exclamation marks that are actually effective, even though I've used them myself (i think speech is the one place they work best).

 

A note on the extract itself: I liked this. I could feel a but of character in it. Claire - the hint of a romantic interest, or at least "damsel in distress" adds an extra element. There's a hint of responsibility here, and perhaps guilt. The character's justifying his actions (i like that we're not told what they are...yet), which is a sign of guilt, but also could be a simply chronicle of what's happened. The extract is short, and subtle enough to have weight.

 

The crackling and humming[2] of the camp fire reflected the mood of the group. Impatient and restless. Everybody wanted answers to questions no one wanted to ask. 'What happened to Greg?', 'What do we do now, Charlie?', 'Are we gonna' be okay?'. Truth is, I didn't know the answer to any of those – all I knew is that Ray did something with Greg back at the impound and my people wanted the truth. I hadn't seen Ray for hours, nor his wife, Claire. They took their SUV and left about half an hour ago – God knows when they'd be back.

 

[2] I'm not sure "humming" works. To me, at least, I'm having difficulty figuring out how a fire "hums".

 

“Hey Mark, can you pat that fire down? We don't want to attract the biters, especially when we're this spread out,[3]” I questioned.

[3] added a comma that was missing. [4] This comma's misplaced - should be before the quotation mark and a [5] fullstop here. Note the comma i added, RE: my first note.

 

“Sure, man”,[4] he replied,[5] “It's starting to get really cold at night. Winter is gonna' be a struggle”. [6]Mark was a tall African-American man who wore a grey beanie hat. He had a stocky build and a round, dark beard.

[6] I think I'd have this sentence describing Mark at the beginning - after "he replied" - let the reader know this information ASAP - Mark's speaking, so we'd hear that he's American.

“Hopefully we'll be settled some place nicer than this when Winter comes,”.

A little confusion here. At the end you've got a comma, speech marks then a fullstop. The fullstop comes at the end of a sentence, and in speech, within the speech marks. No comma is needed here.

 

"Hopefully we'll be settled some place nicer than this when winter comes."

 

I knew we most likely wouldn't, but camp morale was crucial for survival in those times, and besides, hope can't hurt anyone.

Our camp was in the middle of a musky forest, about twenty minutes from any roads. The trees gave perfect cover from the entities that were hunting us and roots made it easy to land snares. It was rare that we ever caught something, but at this time it didn't matter; we had just raided a supermarket whilst passing through Sharon, Massachusetts, and picked up more than enough rations. We were surprised that nobody had already got to it.

Okay, so this is set in the US. I now find the statement that Mark's American strange. I can't help but feel we should be told where we are sooner.

 

All of a sudden we heard the revving of an engine in the distance. Kenny and Mark grabbed their rifles and I went for my holstered pistol. The two men were crouched behind bonnet of a Ford Fiesta, when Ray and his wife pulled up.

Okay, I'm going to nitpick here. When I write a story set in the US, I tend to use american words - hood instead of bonnet, for example. If the narrator/protagonist is a brit, then I think this should be made clear sooner as it'll make these kinds of words ("bonnet") more natural. If you're going for "british guy in US" feel (despite our knowlege, we'd the difference in language and words, and it might be cool to have this reflected in the narration. A very small nitpick, but one I noticed anyway.

 

“Hey hey hey, it's only us!”,[7] he exclaimed. Ray was a tall and slim man who wore a shirt and tie, and had slicked back hair. His wife, Claire, was a small woman with curly blonde hair and a young face.

[7] Again, ditch the comma here.

“Where have you been? We've been worried sick!” I replied, placing my pistol back into it's holster.

Personally I'd rearrange this:

"Where have you been?" I replied, placing my pistol into its holster. "We've been worried sick!"

 

in this instance, "its" should be used instead of "it's" - with "it" apostrophe's not used for ownership as the word acts like "his" - you don't say "he's car" but "his car" .'. you'd use "its holster" not "it's holster"

 

You could also use "!?" after "where have you been" if you want to show the spoken question as more snappy/shouty.

 

“Me and Claire just had to take a break, you know how it gets round here”.[8]

[8] Again, the period should be inside the quotation marks here.

Mark and Kenny started to chuckle, but the expression on my face remained. I turned on my heels and made my way over to my green and burgundy tent. Ray followed closely, whilst Claire went off to mingle with the few people we had left.

Honestly, I feel the colour description here felt a bit forced, out of place, almost. So far we hadn't been given much description in this way. The Fiesta, for example. Why is the tent's colour more important than anything else? (Not saying this is wrong, just stood out.)

“What's up with you?” Ray asked, rubbing the back of his head.

“What's up with me?”, I replied, “You wanna' know what's up with me? I've got Miranda and Jessica playing up and not taking this sh*t seriously; I've got Kenny and Mark looking at me for answers; I've got you and Claire disappearing; and then I've got Martha wondering where her husband is. That's what up with me.” I frowned sternly and I had begun to sweat.

 

“Charlie, you need to calm down. Martha will get over Greg and then we can focus on getting out of here”, Ray responded,[9] and that was when I cracked. The anger and spite grew inside me and before any one could stop me I had forced my fist into Raymond's jaw. He fell onto his back, and a cut appeared on his left cheek bone. Kenny rushed over to stop me before I tried to attack him again. He grabbed onto my shoulders and moved be back, as Ray got to his feet. He went for his side arm, and Claire screamed out, “Ray! No!”. He looked towards her, and put his gun back.

[9]Again, I'd have the "Ray responded" after "you need to calm down" and have "that was when i cracked" after "getting out of here." I think it reads better that way.

“What the hell is wrong with you man?! You think you're some big man because you can take someone by surprise?!”,[10] he taunted.

[10]ditch that comma.

“You think that Martha will get over Greg? That's her husband you asshole! Her husband is missing and we don't even know what happened to him! But you do... You were the last person with him and you haven't said a word to her!”,[10] I was outraged, and the adrenaline inside me made me want to kill him.

“What are you insinuating? You think... You think that I killed Greg? Do you think I'm that kind of person?”, Ray responded,[11] “I loved Greg?[12] We used to be pals even before the out-break. I wouldn't do that to him”.

“I just think it's a little weird that's all, and besides...[13]”, I was interrupted by the sound of groaning in the distance. The biters must have noticed our argument and were heading this way.

[11] Again, I'd have "ray responded" as early as you can. However, if two people are talking/argueing, there's no need to label who's who, as it'll logically alternate. Another trick is to show us what they're doing physically. After Ray speaks, there's no need to say "ray responded" as we can see he's responding. If you want to confirm he's talking (as is a good idea every now and then in 1 on 1 interchanges) then consider putting in some action:

"Do you think I'm that kind of person?" Ray prodded his gloved finger into his chest and scoffed. - Here we can see Ray's replied, but also, you showing us some actions of his. Remember conversations often come with gestures. a shake of the head, a facepalm.... consider showing us these, too. Doing so is a great way of reminding us subtly who's talking while avoiding repetitive "he said"s

 

[12]Not sure why the question mark's here tbh

[13] if a character is interrupted, don't use ellipses. They usually signify trailing off or pauses. Use a emdash. in every book I've read, they're used for interruptions.

 

"and besides--" I was inturrupted by.....

 

“Kenny! Get Martha and Linda and bring them here![14] Ray, take Mark and Claire and get to the road! I'll go and grab Jessica and Miranda! We'll meet at the T-Junction up north!”,[15] and with that, I ran towards the purple tent that was on the other side of our camp. Kenny sprinted towards the two girls' tent, pistol-whipping a biter on the head when he got there. Ray had ran off and left Mark to fight off three biters by himself, and went straight for Claire.

[14] I think this is another good oppurtunity for some actions. Have him pointing, cocking his gun, donning armor. There's speech, but there's nothing else we're being shown. What is he doing while saying this? Is he pointing to ray? I'd use less exclamation marks, too, personally.

[15]Also keep an eye on these commas.

“Ray!”, Mark shouted, as he fell to the floor with his rifle holding off a biter.

Jessica and Miranda were sat inside the tent, but a biter was outside. I pulled the knife out that I had attached to my boot, and impaled the thing's head. It fell onto the tent, and a scream from inside the tent roared throughout the camp.

“It's okay! I'm here, just come out! We gotta' go!”, I shouted to the girls,[16] as I turned around and stabbed another biter up through the jaw and into it's brain. They opened the tent and hid behind me. They were both seventeen and I hated them being in this environment – I had known them before the outbreak, my friend's daughters. He was taken early on in the spread but I took them in. Jess was a tall brunette with pearl grey eyes, whereas Miranda was a short and stumpy girl, who had 'strawberry blonde' coloured hair – or at least that's what she called it.

[16] Things are getting exciting now, and sh*t's happening. Here, you want to use short, sharp sentences, as much as you can. The shorter the sentence, the quicker the pace.

...i shouted to the girls, turning to see another biter. My knife came up, and I stabbed it up through the jaw. The girls opened the tent behind me.

 

Think of it as breathing. When things are relaxed and calm, you breath slowly. When talking, you use longer sentences. Patient. When you're panicing, your breaths are short, and shallow. You bark short sentences. Like punches. Boom. boom. Also be mindful of offering too much description during these more faster paced parts. You don't want to slow it down too much.

“What do we do Charlie?” Jess questioned.

“Get to my car, we're meeting the others just outside the forest.”, I responded,[17] and with that we ran over to the Ford. A few[18] followed us, but they were quickly dealt with by my pistol.

[17] Again, the placement of "i responded" is a bit late for me. Also you're using "responded" too much. Ask yourself, do you need to use it? Perhaps instead you can do:

"Get to my car," i shouted. "We're meeting the others just outside the forest."

[18] It might be worth saying "a few biters" here.

“Come on now, hurry up.”, I urged, as they got into the car. I shot the last one[19] in the head, and got into my car. Turning the ignition on, I pressed on my horn three times and left through the clearing.

[19]I'd use "i shot the last biter in the head" here.

Also, why did he press the horn? Was he warning his friends, the biters or what? What's his reasoning? I couldn't figure it out.

Kenny was already in the car with Martha and Linda, when he noticed a group of biters surrounding a body.

“Mark...”, he whispered, as he watched his best friend's entrails get shared about like they were party food.

“Come on, Kenny, let's go, we can mourn him later.”, Martha said,[20] as she buckled up and closed her door. Kenny drove out through a different clearing, a tear rolling down his cheek and his hands clenching the wheel.

[20]Again, I think "Marther said" would be better after "come on, Kenny,"

Within minutes the camp was overrun, and our entire group – minus Mark – was free from the hoard. The T-Junction was only a twenty minute drive from our camp, so the regroup shouldn't have taken long.

 

I'll leave it there as I should be working !!

 

There's a lot of notes i made, but mostly small things. Spelling looks fine, with literally one instance that I noticed (its/it's). The story flows well, and it's put together nicely. I like the speech - believable and feels natural. A nice build up of action and a hint of conflict within the group adds a bit of suspense. I'm curious to see what's going on in there.

 

As for the story - well to be honest, it's not offering anything unique on the zombie genre. Sadly, zombies are overdone in fiction, film and games, so there's little room for you to go, but that said, I've no idea where you're taking this, so we'll see.

 

Not a bad little read, really, though i think a proofread and letting it ferment a while might enrich it (i find it handy to, once you've written something, leave it for a while - a week or more. Don't touch it, don't read it. Write other things, more chapters. Then come back to it fresh, and proof read it. Tear into it like you would if you were critiquing someone else's work. Pick out anything that seems weird, or wrong, fix what needs fixing etc (i posted a guide in the main WD forum which might help if you need it). But despite that, this is mostly nicely written. Keep it up.

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