An interesting story with an intriguing premise about a "Shadow-man". Reminds me a little of Roger Zelazny's "Jack of Shadows". I suggest, if you haven't already, that you write a complete biography of the man in the shadows. What is he? Where does he come from? What are his powers? What are the limits of his power? Why is he interested in Mason? This is not for publishing but for you to reference so you keep the character straight. You should do the same for each major character and even a few recurring minor ones. It makes the task of writing so much easier and keeps your characters consistent.
Formatting: It is so much easier to read dialogue if each character's line is on a separate line.
I don't know where you are going with this story but I would rearrange it a little bit. I would move the session with the therapist to a prologue and expand that conversation quite a bit. This establishes Mason as an adult in a dire situation. The first chapter should have him sitting on his bunk and fall asleep and dream the part about killing his father and the shadow-man showing up to rescue him. Then he wakes from that and the shadow-man appears in his cell.
I have been interested in stories from the Villains point of view for awhile. Ever since I read Austin Grossman's "Soon I Will Be Invincible". The idea that they self-sabotage is fascinating. This is a good start on that idea.
A good attempt. I get the feeling of hillbillies from it.
I have a few suggestions:
"I'm going to visit her Saturday, at the old folk's home, to see if I can get my sheet back." Implying that the only reason to see her is to get your best sheet back, after all, they took your best sheet, dagnabit.
7th paragraph: last sentence is a little hard to parse. I interpret that to say:
"She thought it was a joke on Billy that she graduated from college before he did." but it seems to imply that she thinks it's a joke that she graduated from college.
10th paragraph: what tower? "... Billy's drunk old friend side-swiped my house with his motorcycle ..." and I don't understand the switch to talking about afternoon romances in the middle.
Someone snuck in here and started cutting up onions, dang it.
Well done. You captured the feelings very well as well as the atmosphere.
There are issues with tense. You need to decide whether to tell it as a memory or as it is happening. You can start with "I clearly remember ..." then tell it as if it were happening this instant ("I clearly remember walking home from school, alone, as usual.") or you need to change to past tense on all the verbs. For example the second sentence would be "No one wanted to walk home with the Parish poor; me, the girl who wore ..."
Anyway you have a good idea and a story, just tune it up a bit.
Well that was pretty gruesome! It is a succinct story and you've capture an essence of dread and urgency. I like it.
Shouldn't the killer at least look for the information, or is it in the victims head?
You need to rework the last line, I think. If he "tied a grappling hook" then it would be on the floor of the alley/street/cul-de-sac he is standing in. You might change that to:
"He threw a grappling hook on the building to the left and tugged the attached rope until it caught. He then climbed to the roof making his escape."
Or you can assume that your reader knows how a grappling hook works with:
"The killer made his escape from the alley by means of a grappling hook."
I suggest that you refrain from calling his pursuer "killer", that kind of gives away the ending. Maybe just refer to him/her as the pursuer. You can give the victim a name, like "Thanh" or "Lucius". That relieves the constant use of "he".
Well done. I like the disney/pixarish anthropomorphizing of the Thanksgiving dishes. It's clever and fresh. What I write about below is just some ideas for filling it out, feel free to ignore but I think you have an idea here and you might be able to work with one of the people/groups doing short cgi animations and make this into something more that a little one off story.
In my opinion you should expand that part about the dishes more and less about the humans around the table. Treat the dishes as a family then the humans are interlopers with the final tragedy. In fact, getting a little abstract, the dishes would not recognize the humans but recognize each other because the Thanksgiving table is a set and each fills a role. Whereas the humans can and are changed year by year.
So you have roast turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet yams, green bean casserole, rolls, and salad. Each with a name and a moment when they are all on the table together with the humans greeting each other in a different room. The dishes also greet each other and joke around a bit. They aren't sure why they are there but they are happy to be there. Then the kid blow snot on the sweet yams and it gets ignomiously dumped in the trash and end it there, otherwise, it would become a really dark story. :O
This just came to me, you could have another short where the dishes, not the content of the dishes are piled in the sink talking to each other about the horrible things that happened at dinner. That's a little dark but might be a fun write.
I encourage you to run with this.
Good luck and keep at it.
The writing is good and I was compelled to read up to the point where the limousine showed up. My first thought at that point was "this guy is finding every survivor and, personally, handing them a letter. How is he is finding them? Why would he care if this guy knew? Why wasn't he using a helicopter?" Then later "He found that guy and told him but didn't bother with the women? What a jerk." The idea of him finding survivors and then leaving them scattered, when he could be collecting them makes no sense. If you want to build a better world you don't start by having survivors starve to death. I hear him saying "Oh this will weed out the weak and toughen them up." HA. You don't get a better society by encouraging the very behavior you are complaining about: murdering, raping, and robbing.
So what is it you really want to write? A new Heinlein's "Farnham's Freehold"? A "Walking Dead" without the zombies? You just want a young dude to meet hot chicks in a survivalist environment? Those might be worthy goals but do you have some idea what your world looks like at the end of your story?
To eliminate a large portion of the world population of humans, bombs are not going to cut it (plus that is so 70s.) You would have to have the world's armed forces in on the game to fire off the bombs (which is, probably, on the order of a 3 or 4 million people that won't get killed.) What you really want is a series of plagues. They spread quickly, they don't require an army to start just a few dozen people in labs around the world. You want several so that fighting it is really hard (as one plague in Europe is stopped the completely different one from Africa arrives.) Of course something similar has been done, they have made at least two movies about it "Omegaman" and "I am Legion". I am sure behind them is a book (I am too lazy to look it up.)
The tough part is a plausible scenario where you have survivors yet get to your goal of "better" human being surviving. Small villages and towns would have to stop all strangers from visiting. At this point you have reduced the population but now have isolated them and got them to fear and hate strangers. How is that different?
Who are the instigators here? You've put in the "the governments of the world" are the ones behind it but that is difficult to believe for our world. Keeping something like this secret would be impossible. Remember governments don't build bombs, they pay outside, private contracting companies to do that. There is very little trust between governments so something where one is expecting the other to eliminate their own population, I don't see that happening.
If I am being completely cynical, the governments are the tool of the wealthy. The wealthy have no interest in fixing anything for the huddled masses. In fact they depend on them to continue to choose entertainment over education; to choose religion over science. This has made them wealthy and will continue to do so. The wealthy can choose who they breed with they don't care who Maude in Little Rock, AR gets busy with.
I hate to be so negative but if you are going to write a disaster-survivor story you need to try to break new ground. Interstellar broke new ground, even if, on reflection, it falls apart. They had a few good ideas (although I absolutely hate time-travel stories. I won't bore you with my criticisms of that movie.)
The game Fallout might be the direction to take. Instead of nuclear war have it be an environmental disaster where select groups of humans were put into underground facilities in cryogenic sleep only to wake 1000 years later than expected. I am just tossing out ideas, take or leave it.
Amusing and a good attempt at a Limerick. The ideal limerick has not only the rhyming but also a rhythm to it. As you have it the first, second and fifth lines must rhyme and the 3rd and 4th (but not with the 1st, 2nd & 3rd). They should also have the same number of syllables. That is, the first, second and fifth should have the same number of syllables and the 3rd and 4th should also have the same number of syllables. For example:
My girl is quite the eye popper
Her locks are the color copper
Her eyes do shine
Her curves so fine
When she moves it’s a heart stopper
I suggest trying it again (BTW smirked does not rhyme with work). Note that "Her eyes do shine" is not even close to proper English but that is allowed in a limerick if the intention of the line is clear. Slang has always been a part of limericks. In fact, the vast majority of limericks are X-rated.
Nice bit of horror. You should expand it a little more. He hasn't showed his true nature. He needs to really deserve this death. Maybe make the hike to the plant with some companions and it takes all day so he is pressed for time. Each time a companion threatens to slow him down he abandons them. We see his greedy selfish personality on display.
Just wanting a plant named after you doesn't really make you bad.