|Hello Jeremy Scott,
After reading "Many Candy" , I offer you these comments:
You are a great storyteller. I could easily picture everything that happened in this tale. I like how the story starts it sucks me in immediately. I never saw where it was leading. My first thought at finding out was, Where did he get that candy?
I have to say I find the last line of the story very anti-climatic. I think it would go better earlier on in the story sometime around when Legion first appears. Maybe right before Damon says, "Your bullets are useless!" Or right before he starts speaking Latin would also be a good place for that line, in my opinion.
You do an excellent job of showing the reader who Damon is. He is an average Joe-- working man, carpet layer, living in a big city. Nice guy, loves the city and people; he normally does anyway. Though you don't come right out and say it I get the impression that he is not a big man since a lot of the guys around him seem bigger.
Does the name Damon have any hidden or other significance in your story? I just ask since it is a variant of Damien, which was made famous as the anti-Christ child, from the Omen movies.
You do an amazing job of describing the setting. I can picture every single thing you mention quite vividly. The city, the people, the hustle and bustle of lunch time traffic, the bus, even the manhole cover and the rats. These are all great descriptions of the scenery. It adds excellent atmosphere and credibility to the story. This city and people have character that help suck the reader into your world and make them believe that it is all real. Well done.
This is where my review gets long and tricky. I understand that you can't possibly address every single detail when you are under a 1000 count word restriction and horror often defies explanation but your story left me with a few nagging questions.
Mainly, what exactly is your plot? Let me clarify what I mean:
Is this the Legion of demons from the bible story? If so you are setting a relatively known set of parameters. The Legion in that story was cast out of a possessed man, by Jesus Christ and into a herd of pigs. The man was then completely cured and returned to normal. The pigs drown themselves in the sea. We assume that was the end of the demons since they seemed to require a host in order to exist.
So if this is the same Legion, the obvious question would be how did the demon get into the candy? If it is a new never before seen demon that raises other questions, such as: Did demons start an actual candy company trying to take over the world with infected candy? Or is the Legion Candy Company just a ruse to make the candy look manufactured? Is the candy infected and anyone that eats it becomes possessed? Or is there only one bag of candy and one demon Legion that just needs to be exorcised? Can this demon/demons even be exorcised or are they invulnerable to everything?
If they can be exorcised like in the bible,then what happens to the host? What happens if the host is killed? Do the demons cease to exist or go back to hell? Do they have to hurry and find a new host or die like in that Denzel Washington movie Fallen?
Which brings up another point that is unclear to me. Is Damon dead? That is impression I got but I'm not 100% sure. At one point in the story Damon/Legion says, Your bullets are useless. Implying that he can't be hurt or killed.
Then the cops shoot at him but you never tell us what happened to those bullets. Did they miss? Did they bounce off? Did they go into Damon's body but have no effect? Is he hurt or bleeding out, but ignoring the effects?
A few lines later Damon is shot in the head and you say he feels the hole in his forehead but he is no longer Damon. Does that mean that Damon is dead or just no longer in control of his body? Was Legion taunting the cops to shoot him so Damon would die/lose control of his body?
Again, I know you couldn't possibly give enough back story within the contest restrictions to answer all these questions but now that the contest is over, please consider them food for thought. You don't have to explain all/any of them precisely just give the reader some clues and let them decide for themselves. I would love to read an extended version of your story with some additional explanation.
Pacing is great. The story unfolds at a good natural pace. It doesn't feel hurried, forced, nor does it drag anywhere.
I want to make a quick comment on originality. Though I have seen this type of story many times, I still enjoy hearing new versions. I personally love to try and give new twists to old tales and characters. I think what your story may lack in originality it more than makes up for with entertainment value.
My biggest complaint is when Legion starts speaking Latin. This has been popularized in demon stories as far back (maybe even further)as The Exorcist because it is the language used by the Catholic church, specifically in performing exorcisms. I would have preferred to hear the demon speak in Aramaic, the language of Christ, or even Hebrew. Of course, like the rest of this review this is just my opinion.
I feel I really connected with Damon. The average class working Joe is easy for most of us to identify and sympathize with. He just wanted to have a good lunch and get back to work. I feel bad that this is happening to him. I am genuinely disturbed when I think that he is lost forever.
The incident with the bus is so shocking and sudden that it creates a moment of absolute horror. This is a perfect catalyst to throw the story into high gear. Nice job!
I believe that grammar and punctuation are always secondary to story telling so I only point out things that jump out at me. Here are somethings I noticed:
But, now it was time to get back to work, carpet won’t replace itself! I would consider putting the part I have in red in italics because it sounds like an actual internal dialog especially since it ends with an exclamation point. Or you could just use a period.
What? I don’t hate people, I love this city. A disturbing thought for Damon, very uncharacteristic. Must be this heat. No one else looked hot.
There is something screwy going on here with the point of view. One second we are hearing Damon's actually inner thoughts the next we are outside hearing about his character from an omniscient narrator. People don't think about themselves in the third person.
He came to a stop as at the cross walk,
He turn turned to the large man behind him and growled
“Oh my God!” A woman shrieked as the man driving the bus slammed on its brakes just as it slammed into the man, sending the man flying two body lengths and spraying blood all over those at the curb.
I'm not completely sure if these are the missing words but something is definitely wrong with this sentence. Also you use "man" so many times it not only sounds repetitive but is confusing as to who you are talking about. I would consider reworking this sentence.
“Come on, am I the only one who say saw him push him”
He looked up, tossing his head back as he pulled his hands down to gather strength and let out a high pitch pitched screech.
Look Looking at the two cops,
Style-- as I said before you are an excellent storyteller. The way you use Damon's thoughts and inner dialog not only tell the reader what he is thinking but also describes his surroundings and sets the mood. It is brilliant considering you really have to make every word count because of the contest limitations. Well done.
You have good use of dialog, in my opinion. Your dialog is natural sounding and real. You use it not only to add color and relay information, but also move the story along. You paint pictures with your dialog.
I liked this story very much. You tell a big story with a small amount of words. I think you did a good job of condensing it. You make every word count, but there is just too much story for a 1000 word limit.
Thanks for entering the Slice. Congratulations on your win it is well deserved. I look forward to reading more entries from you in the future.
My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Go Noticed" .
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