Hi, my name is Bertie. I am reviewing this short story on behalf of GOOD DEEDS GO NOTICED. I hope that my suggestions are useful. At no time am I attempting to re-write your story. I only seek to aid you in becoming the best writer you can be.
TITLE: LAMENT FOR THE SLUMS
The title pulled me in. However, I did not feel the sense of sadness that is indicative of a lament until the very last part.
THEME: A man? woman? walks through a very bad neighborhood and is attacked.
STRUCTURE: Your structure was sound. There was a beginning, middle and end, but the story left quite a few questions in my opinion.
First, what happened to the metal case that he/she is carrying.
Second, although the thug calls the protagonist a "bitch" it seemed to me that this was a man. You need to be clearer as to the identity of this person. If this is a woman, it amplifies the fear factor for most women are vulnerable. If it is a man, then the word "bitch" seems out of place and misleading. If you intend the word to be a slur to this fellow's manhood, then you should make that clear.
Third: The protagonist is attacked. Is he attacked because these guys are robbing him? If so, why don't they make a grab at the metal case, since that seems tempting. If they are just beating him up because he's on their turf, then give the baddies a little more dialogue to clear this up.
SPELLING, GRAMMAR, AND PUNCTUATION:
I can see by your style that you are in love with words. I had to look a few up. I appreciate learning new words, so that was a plus for me. Especially "gelid".
I noted no errors in spelling, or punctuation.
GRAMMAR: "You'd think with the frigid pellets of condensed water haphazardly descending from the firmament, and the biting chill of a tumultuous gust would prevent my body heat from enveloping the damn thing."
There is something missing from this sentence that throws it off. These are two separate ideas joined together by a comma, the second half of the sentence is not fully developed. Re-write this for better clarity.
"Oh please be a lady tonight." Place a comma after Oh and make this sentence italicized or in quotes.
"The tips of my fingers fondled about the inside right . . ."
To fondle is: to handle or touch lovingly, affectionately, or tenderly; caress: to fondle a precious object; to fondle a child.
If you mean to retain this word, remove the word about
"The corner" adjoined uncomfortably against the dermis, irritating the grooves and texture of my finger print."
Use finger tip for the underlined word, since a finger print is something left behind from a finger's touch.
What is impeccable? Their appearance, their cigarette case. Or, are you using the secondary meaning of unpeccable: To be sinless, pure from sin?
"I retracted that arm and promptly pushed the hand into its corresponding pocket, nesting it from the cold."
If you were to say: I shoved my hand deep into the warmth of my pocket, it may not be as poetic, but it would say what you want to more clearly.
" . . . then again with the other" So now they have plunged both their hands into their pockets and we loose the metal case.
"With a solemn yield of my head"I did not understand what you meant by this. When a reader has to pause to figure out what you mean, then the flow of the story is interrupted. You can chose to say something in another way that may not confuse.
"rang from the mandibles of pub whose doors were slightly ajar,"
one of the first pair of mouthpart appendages, typically a jawlike biting organ, but styliform or setiform in piercing and sucking species.
If this is the definition you are referring to, then the use of this word is perfect. The above sentence only needs to be more clearly stated.Also at the end of the sentence, you need a semi-colon if you intend to continue with the next half of the sentence.
"a rather rough looking bald man standing in the pathway with his arms crossed menacingly about his chest."
This is the second half of the above cited sentence. It is an incomplete sentence. I would place wasafter bald man
". . . enthralled my nostrils and felt as it was incinerating the lining of skin . . ."
enthralled: enslaved, bond, in bondage, beguiled or captivated.
While the first meanings fit your usage, a reader may think, as I did that it meant the secondary meaning because it is used more in that manner. Not that you should change it, but consider the meaning and how it could confuse a reader.
"and felt as it was incinerating the lining of skin."
Place I between and and felt.
" . . . or if it was the urchin's odor."
Since you already stated that the one urinating was an older man, he could not be an urchin, for that refers to a young boy.
"Needless to say," Omit this, it does nothing for the sentence.
" . . . . shadows became so robust . . ." Omit so
"On my right side, . . ." Omit side
" . . . quarantining the land of a run down "mom and pop's store"
According to Webster's Dictionary the word quarentine cannot be used in this form, you should re-phrase this sentence.
" . . . it wasn't like the fence even deterred gangs from tagging the walls."
This would be a much stronger statement if you would show us what the wall looked like. Was it completely covered in "tags"? Where there lewd drawings? That sort of explanation would bring the alley way more to life for your reader.
" . . . some manner of rabble." Try replacing this some with all.
"As my mind granulated, as did my sight fading in and out steadily."
Change the second as to so.
" . . . and I slid to one knee, my opposite leg trembling as it attempted to keep me upright
Try trembled here.
'My arm fumbled foreword, feeling the darkness before me."
Your hand would have to fumble forward and, since darkness cannot be felt I think you meant to say feeling in(?) the darkness before me.
" . . . my breathing had begun to mirror a pant . . ."
I could find no definition of mirror that seemed to fit with this sentence.
Think about revising.
"Whichever this was, they were indeed quite large."
Whomever is the proper usage, or you could simply say: This guy was huge, and place it in italics.
"It gurgled and sputtered in surprise as it fell backward, hitting its head on the pavement with a rude, horrifying crack."
In this sentence a reader cannot be sure if the knife gurgled and sputtered or it was the assailant. You might want to change one of the it(s) to something that would identify it as the attacker.
"Each and every precipitate . . ."
This is the only meaning I could find for precipitate: to separate from a solution as a precipitate Try for another way of saying this.
MY OVERALL IMPRESSION: This put me in mind of old Gumshoe (Detective) stories, something like Micky Spillane. It has that dark, dank quality that serves private detective yarns so well. I liked the idea of this lone fellow on a mission. But, what that mission was is lost in the teelling. I think it would be a more strong story if you would spend a bit of time showing the reader what the protagonist was doing in this dangerous part of town, and especially if you made a continued highlight of the silver case.
MY FAVORITE PARTS: The very last paragraph was poetic. It was a fitting end and summed the parts up very nicely.
MY SUGGESTIONS: There is a lot to think about here. I would suggest re-reading your story slowly and aloud. When we read aloud, we are able to see where a reader might stumble. Have someone else read it aloud to you. You will see where the rough spots are.
Thank you for permitting me to review your work. I enjoyed this story, I like dark tales and this was dark indeed. Keep writing and offering your work for review. Blessings, Bertie
My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Go Noticed" .