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Mock Orange
AzureEdge
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AzureEdge 24 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic ISFJ 5w6 240C
The idea for this came to me while thinking about scary stories. Usually when you read a chilling tale it is told from the victim's point of view. But what would it be like to see things from the other side? Here is my first attempt. Inspiration for the story goes to Bram Stoker's Dracula and Yahtzee's point-and-click adventure game 5 Days a Stranger.

DISCLAIMER: May or may not contain a somewhat obvious or predictable plot twist. May not actually be a scary story. In the language of flowers (better known as floriography); the orange blossom represents innocence while the mock orange represents deceit.


Mock Orange

The sun started it's descent as dusk began to fall. On cue lamps flickered on, casting their powdery glow. One by one windows were lit, but the house stood silent. A cold evening breeze carried the sigh of a vesper, calling people to their homes. Somewhere in the wood feet beat against the dirt, running. A girl, a few weeks shy of being eighteen clad in a thick woolen cloak skittered along the path. Night was falling; she knew she wouldn't make it on time.

Darkness fell on the land, covering the world in an inky blackness. She could no longer see the road; every tree looked the same. In the distance a faint brightness shone, beckoning. With no other guide, she went towards it. Slowly but surely she came, just like all the others before her. Through the panes of the study he watched as she approached the gate.

The wind turned vicious, howling and biting at her hands and face. She had finally reached the source of the light. Glancing around as if being watched, she stepped forward and looked up. Before her was a grand chateau. Although the exterior had been worn by age, in its prime it undoubtedly was the pride of a noble house. The girl lifted the latch of the iron gate, and a gust of wind swung it wide open. Standing at the manor's front door she raised the knocker, when it slowly creaked open itself.

Strangely she seemed unaffected by this ominous sign, and entered without question. Her countenance did not change as the door locked behind her. An insidious smile crept across his face. Foolish, just like the others--except even more so! Did she not see the signs of danger? Where others would have harbored thoughts of suspicion she had none.

She gazed at the interior of the lobby, adjusting her eyes to the faint glimmer of the lamps on the walls. They fell on rich tapestries, luxurious carpets, and opulent potraits. Everything was ornate with refined taste, yet seemed old. The very dust on the objects had not been disturbed for many years.


AzureEdge
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AzureEdge 24 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic ISFJ 5w6 240C
"Good evening." She quickly turned at the sound of the voice. A few meters away stood a young man holding a candelabra. He was wearing a swallowtail coat over a velvet vest. On the left lapel intricate embroidery adorned the edge in gold thread. Trimming the lamps with the candelabra, the room brightened to where she could see his face. His hair was dark, his eyes a gentian blue. His complexion was finer than porcelain, and his countenance carried an aura of gentility.

After a momentary silence, the girl spoke. " I thought this place was abandoned. I didn't expect anyone to be living here."

"Is that so?" He laughed. "I've been living here for quite some time now."

"Really?" She asked. Her voice was monotone with barely a hint of interest, completely opposite from the purpose of the question.

"Yes, I don't get many visitors. As you can see," he motioned towards the window. "This estate is a ways off from the nearest town."

The man smiled. He had piqued her curiosity. Though the fact that her blank expression had not changed since she came in was a bit odd. She was probably still recovering from the cold, after all.

Turning towards the door, she spoke hesitantly, "I apologize for the intrusion. I had no idea I was trespassing. I'll be on my way."

As she was reaching for the door knob the man replied, "Oh that's quite alright. It's been so long since I've had a guest. Why don't you stay the night? The hour is late, and the weather outside is rather unsettled."



AzureEdge
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AzureEdge 24 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic ISFJ 5w6 240C
She paused. For a moment it seemed like she would refuse. Was it hesitation, or indecision? He couldn't tell. When he tried to read her expression he found nothing; she still wearing that blank face.

"Very well. I'll stay." She answered.

The man's eyes lit up at the sound of those words. "Wonderful! Absolutely marvellous!" He cried, clasping his hands together in exuberance.

His face was beaming, like a child unwrapping gifts on Christmas morn; a complete contrast from the noble demeanor he carried when he made his appearance. Instantly he regained his composure. "Why don't you make yourself at home while I prepare your room? Feel free to go wherever you like in this house." He called just as he opened a door into the next room.
AzureEdge
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AzureEdge 24 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic ISFJ 5w6 240C
As the door closed behind his mind was reeling. Perfect, absolutely perfect! Everything was going just as planned. He reveled in the thought of how easily she had fallen into his trap; how smoothly things fell into place. It was almost too good to be true. A sly smirk darted across his visage as he passed a clock down the hall. Just a little longer and it would be his.

The girl watched as he left. She said nothing, merely blinking for a few moments before taking his invitation to explore the house. She strolled through the foyer into the drawing room. Inside were mahogany furniture and tapestries similar to what she saw earlier. Unlike the foyer, there was no dust; not even on the decorations and figurines scattered throughout the room.

On one of the mahogany side tables was a small clock, made of cherry wood glazed with lacquer. It was rather quaint, its face lined with Roman numerals around two clock hands. Intrigued, she picked it up. Running her hands over the smooth lacquer, she found an engraving of a scene of cardinals nestled in the branches of a tree below the clock face. As she was admiring the clock's handiwork, she noticed something. The position of the hands on the clock had not changed from when she first saw it.
AzureEdge
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AzureEdge 24 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic ISFJ 5w6 240C
She stopped. Holding the clock in her hands, she stared thoughtfully at its black spindly hands; forever frozen in time. Then, after a great pause she set it down. The atmosphere around her had changed though her face had not. She briskly covered the distance to door before firmly pulling it open. The door slid open; it hadn't been locked to begin with. With that, she continued down the hall. If her suspicions were correct, she only had a few hours to find what she was looking for.

The man sat before a great mirror; its frame wrought in silver, taking the shape of trailing ivy. Leaning back in his chair he twirled a pocketwatch around his finger. Soon it'd all be over. The ruse completed, the game won. At least until the next time. Dangling the watch chain before him, he entertained the idea of what to do to keep himself from boredom afterwards.
AzureEdge
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AzureEdge 24 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic ISFJ 5w6 240C
Down, down the hall came the sound of pattering feet. Steps quickened with haste, with urgency. A half an hour had past.

Where was it?

She was running out of time. The girl sharply turned the corner to the study and burst open the door. The man was standing before the fireplace, his arm resting on the mantel with his back turned. At the sound of the intrusion, he glanced toward the door.

"Good evening Miss." he smiled disarmingly.

She gave no answer.

"What's the matter? Is something wrong?" He asked innocently.

"No." Her voice was firm, void of emotion.

The man came closer. He noticed a small pin in the shape of an orange blossom at the clasp of her cloak.

"You look out of breath. Is something troubling you?" He leaned closer. Again she fell silent. Then as he leaned back, she spoke.

"I have important business with you."

"Business?" He laughed. "What business do you have with me?" He sneered, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

Her expression became calm. She stepped forward and pulled down her hood. From underneath her cloak she pulled out a lantern hung from a chain.


The man backed away in horror and for the first time, fear seized his soul. Fear ran through his veins like a virulent poison, seeping into every fiber of his being. Tension spread throughout his body while terror wrapped its sinister tendrils choking him; coiling tighter, tighter, and tighter! Then he ran. 

Bolting past her he fled; flying down corridors and hallways in a frenzied panic, desperately trying to escape. Yet with each glance over his shoulder the more his terror grew. He ran into the ballroom and shut the door. His eyes darted back and forth, vainly straining for an exit--any means of escape. It was a dead end. 

Like a trapped animal he clawed at the windows in desperation as paranoia gnawed his mind. Then doorknob began to turn. 

He froze. The door opened; then footsteps, followed by the soft clinking of a chain. Slowly, she walked towards him; with each step coming closer and closer. The man stumbled backwards, his legs shackled with fear. She continued to advance. The pin shone in the candlelight and now he could see it clearly. It was a mock orange.

He opened his mouth to scream; but the sound died in his throat. With an eerie, tranquil voice she said:

" I am here to collect. "
Scythe
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Scythe 22 United States PhlegmaticMelancholic ISTP 35C
Well, I'm it's not really scary. As you had said it might not be. Also, there was a bit of a plot twist in the middle. I noticed two things you didn't seem to describe - or at very least I didn't understand. The first is what she was looking for?

"Down, down the hall came the sound of pattering feet. Steps quickened with haste, with urgency. A half an hour had past.

Where was it? "

This doesn't seem to have a clear answer.

The other thing was why the man fled. Although, it seems kind of clear after a little thought. I feel a better description of the Ghost, or what I assume to be a ghost, would be nice. Although, I suppose it isn't necessary.

Now that I am done criticizing very specific points, lets compliment the whole! :D
I like how it is written, very well done. The word choose is very nice. Words weren't overused or over complicated. What I mean is, you didn't go look in a dictionary and fill in the story with every fancy word you could find. I feel many new writers miss this point, myself included. We want to make it sound nice, so in our attempts we try to say things in fancy was that people really don't understand. This ruins the story as whole. However, you avoided that, and did so without using completely boring words at the same time.
The story itself is good. There is a nice flow to it. Even with the plot twist, everything is well understood. As someone who write himself, that is something I look for.
Although, I think what you want to hear most is that I enjoyed it as a story. I read through it without getting bored and remained interested to see what happened next.

Phew... That took awhile.
AzureEdge
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AzureEdge 24 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic ISFJ 5w6 240C
I'm glad you liked it! This story was kind of an experiment to play with a limited third-person point of view and an overall darker story theme. When I first started the story I used The Picture of Dorian Gray as a reference for the style and language, in an attempt to recreate the 'classical' feel from Victorian era literature.

Writing it was the real challenge. There was a delicate balancing act between making sure that sentences didn't become repetitive and using words that had more depth. Not to mention making sure that there were just enough adjectives without creating overloaded imagery! Being an artist, coming up with descriptions and imagery was the easy part. There were times when I'd get stuck with writer's block wondering what to write next. Other times it would be over little things like how long the story should be or how to put a scene into words. Then there was the issue of how to incorporate the symbolism to fit with the flow of the plot.

As for your questions, I intentionally left some places ambiguous to leave them to the readers' imaginations. Though if you want to know what I had originally intended, I'll leave the answers in spoilers below.

**Warning, here be spoilers!**

For your first question, she was looking for the man. As for the girl, she's not a ghost.
  Spoiler:

As for why he fled:
  Spoiler: