by Amber Dawn
I would like some real and genuine criticism on a section of my story
The sound of the gunfire rang in his ears, stabbing him like a knife but the mixture of his rage and adrenaline clouded the pain. Zane had done it. He didn't realize it at first, the guns trigger was easier to pull then he thought it would be. He wasn't sure why he brought the gun at first. He hadn't planned on using such a thing but he had aimed and shot without realizing it. The satisfaction after he pulled the trigger was something Zane had never felt before. The feeling of all the bottled up anger and hatred releasing at once was unbelievable. The power he felt, that power was intoxicating. But then he heard it. The one sound Zane thought he would never hear again. A single voice crying out pierced through him. It was the voice of the man he had shot, Dante. But the cry he had heard was not one of pain but of sorrow. Horror and realization filled him as he came to his senses and saw the woman he loved falling down and blood covering Dante but the blood was not his own.
"No," Zane whispered under his breath "it can't be." Dante caught the woman before she hit the floor and cradled her head in his arms. Blood trickled from her fingers as her petite body grew cold. Zane couldn't believe it. The gun grew heavier in his hands as he walked toward the dying woman and Dante.
"Why did she..." he trailed off, the gun dropping from his hands.
Frozen fingers ran across his neck as a low raspy voice spoke into his ear. "This is all your fault."
Zane shook his head in disbelief and retched his gaze from the sight of the dying woman. "She jumped in-"
"Don't lie to yourself." The voice cut in sharply while cold nails dug into Zane's neck. "You wanted her dead."
Dark wispy hands turned Zane's head back toward the dying woman and
Dante. She was holding Dante's hand as he cupped her face. Tears
trailed down Dante's face and the dark pool of blood beneath the
woman was in sharp contrast to her bright red hair.
"I will always love you..." Her voice trailed away as she let go of life. Dante's sorrowful cries echoed off the walls as he clutched the now dead woman's body.
"See. She wanted nothing to do with you." The voice told Zane. "She never loved you. That's why she deserved to die. That's why you had to kill her." Dark wispy forms gathered in the dark corners of the broken down room. The lights cut off one by one, the darkness engulfing everything but Zane.
"You killed her!" Another voice from the darkness accused.
"No! I-I didn't mean to." Zane cried out falling to his knees.
"YOU KILLED HER!" The same voice screamed into his ear causing Zane to crawl back in fear. He covered his ears with his hands and hid his face in his knees.
"No. No. No." Zane mumbled as he rocked back and forth. The voices gathered getting louder and louder as they accused him until becoming an unbearable crescendo.
"You killed me." The woman's voice cut through the noise made by the forms in the darkness. A hand grabbed Zane's hair and yanked his head up. In front of him was the face of the woman he loved but her face decayed and clothing was covered in dried blood. She opened her mouth she let out a blood curdling scream.
Zane awoke with a scream begging to be released. Sweat covered Zane but he didn't notice. He climbed out of bed and paced around the room to calm his nerves.
"Just breath. Just breath." Zane mumbled to himself. He ran his hand through his dirty blonde hair then walked over to the window.
"It won't happen again. Your stronger than the dreams." Zane took a deep breath and let it out slowly. It was only then did he realize he and the bed were covered in sweat. Zane shook his head and proceeded to take off his clothing and the bed sheets. He decided to throw the sheets in the wash and get a shower before going downstairs to meet with the rest of his group. Zane was the last one to the house so he got stuck with the room with a washing machine and dryer but, to Zane's liking, his room was next to the bathroom so minimal clothing was required to sneak into the bathroom before being seen by others. After throwing the sheets in the washing machine Zane grabbed some clothing and turned to walk to the bathroom.
His heart pounded his chest and his leg went weak, there before him in the bathroom mirror was one of the wispy beings from his dreams. Its form was much more solid than in the dreams but its face was the same. Dark red eyes blazing through the darkness and an inhuman mouth reaching to the corners of its eyes, always smiling. That was all Zane ever saw of it no matter where he was or where it was. A single sharply pointed finger lifted to the creatures mouth telling Zane to be quiet as a soft chuckle echoed through Zane's mind.
Zane broke free of its gaze and shut the bedroom door, sliding to the floor after. He hated that thing. He hated it! There had been others, oh plenty of others, but this one...this one made him wish it was possible to kill it- no- kill himself without messing the game up. But he knew he couldn't, it knew too. It knew it could toy and torture him to the brink of death but only to the brink, killing him would end the game and its fun. Zane wiped away the tears that now tailed down his face.
"You have to do this for her." He reminded his self as he looked up to the ceiling. Zane took a deep breath and got dressed. He would have to skip the shower and he'd brush his teeth in the downstairs bathroom. He wasn't sure what excuse he would tell the others yet but he'd come up with something. Grabbing the door handle with a shaking hand Zane opened the door. The creature was gone but Zane knew not to fall for that trick again.
It had been the fourth or fifth time the creature had come. He had been in a different place at the time, an apartment room. This time it was standing in the doorway to the kitchen but after retreating to his room and gaining enough courage to face it, Zane was surprised to see it gone. Normally it would stay where ever it was until Zane left the building. He counted it a blessing from God and went to get breakfast. That was the last time he would ever make that mistake.
A sharp pain attacked his stomach and then a hot searing pain went for his back. Zane didn't even have time to react to the invisible attacker. The creature grabbed his hair and threw him further into the kitchen then deeply scratched his right leg. Next to be assaulted was his inner thigh with a hot stabbing pain. Zane knew that there was nothing in the kitchen that could save him, all his weapons were in the bedroom. The only thing he could do was escape. Adrenaline coursed through him as he crawled out of the kitchen, the creature kicking him with an invisible leg or beating the back of his head with some unseen item until he passed the kitchen threshold. The creature then appeared back in the doorway, a grin showcasing all its sharply pointed teeth and laughed in Zane's mind.
The creature was smart enough not to cause any damage somewhere that couldn't be covered up and thankfully Zane didn't have to worry about sticking out in jeans and t-shirt because it was winter at the time. After that incident Zane never went anywhere without some kind of weapon and he never ever crossed the threshold that held back the thing.
Closing the bedroom door behind him, Zane made his way down the stairs. Zane looked at all the fake family photos that covered the walls. The Council goes out of their way to make sure these safe houses look legit, he thought to himself. Everything in the house showcased the picture perfect family. A successful father, a loving and creative mother, and two obedient and talented children, a boy and girl. Zane was envious of their happiness and how carefree they seemed but the reality of it was the people in these photos were just people the Council hired to pose for pictures. It did make Zane feel better when he thought of it that way. These people aren't real. They're not really happy. He would tell himself every time he'd pass a family photo. All four of them are just as messed up as the rest of us.
The sound of laughter filled the downstairs and breakfast floated on the air. It seemed like everyone was in the kitchen so Zane took advantage of the time and brushed his teeth. Afterwards Zane made his way into the small but nice dining room. The kitchen was open to the dining room which made the small area seem much bigger than it actually was. Zane leaned against the wall and took in the chaotic scene which was too much for Zane, being so early in the morning.
At the circular table a young man threw scrambled eggs at the woman across from him while she smeared a slice of bread, with jam on it, into the face of a different man to her right.
"Sophi-" The man was cut off as the woman, Sophie, smacked the slice of bread back into the man's face.
"What was that?" Sophie teased, trying to kick the man across the table.
"I didn't hear that last part." Sophie and the man across the table laughed harder.
"Derek," The man with the jam on his face said to the other man.
"You're supposed to be on my side against your sister." The man playfully pleaded. Derek laughed even harder then tossed a chunk of bitten bread at his sister Sophie.
"But if I side with you then she'll start throwing that stuff at me." Derek said picking up his fork then proceeded to eat what was left of his eggs. The man shook his head and did his best to wipe off the jam with a napkin.
"Ashlynn, you're on my side right?" the man yelled into the kitchen. A woman in blue plaid pajama bottoms and large black t-shirt looked up from washing the dishes and shook her head.
"Sorry Dante but I am on my side. That tends to keep me out of that mess." She laughed then noticed Zane, greeting him with a smile.
"Morning, hungry enough for breakfast?" She asked, moving the strains of hair that didn't stay in her bun out of her face. Zane didn't hear what she said. Every time he saw her it just reassured him that all the pain and suffering was worth it. He literally lived for the moments he got to see her smiling face or her sea green eyes or her soft red hair fall onto her face. Everything she did made him so happy, he couldn't let her die, not again. She would live a long and beautiful life, that he was determined to make happen. Ashlynn cocked her head to one side and gave him a puzzled look asking if he was okay.
"Oh, yeah I'm okay." Zane said shaking his head, "I didn't sleep well last night so I'm a bit out of it, sorry." Zane sat at the table, careful to avoid the mess that covered the other half of the table, ran his fingers through his hair asking what she had said. Ashlynn repeated her question and Zane nodded his head saying he would like a little breakfast. Ashlynn washed her hands and went to cooking Zane some breakfast.
"So was it a bad dream or could you just not get to sleep?" Sophie asked while picking eggs out of her shoulder length warm brown hair, her toffee highlights seeming much brighter in the morning sun.
"I'm not sure honestly." Zane replied, flicking a piece of egg away from him.
"Maybe your mind was hyped up for the mission tonight." Derek added in washing his plate and fork.
"Speaking of mission do you think you'll be okay for it Zane?" Dante asked before Zane could reply to Derek, much to Zane's relief. Zane hated to lie to them. They were the closest thing he ever had to a real family and he couldn't stand the thought of losing them, which he also hated.
"Yeah I'll be fine." Zane said not looking at Dante. He was never sure how to feel about Dante. Some days he feels like a friend, even a brother, but then other days he feels like an enemy that's just waiting on Zane to make a mistake. A silent enemy smiling at all his failures. Dante was another thing on Zane's list of things he hated.
Ashlynn had finished Zane's eggs and toast and handed him his plate and fork with the smile that was always on her face. Zane soaked up the view of Ashlynn in the sun. She was stunning. The sun made her naturally bright red hair brighter, the blonde strands gleaming like gold, and the blue flakes in her eyes looking lighter and her fair skin glowing. Ashlynn was only in Zane's presence for a matter of seconds but to Zane it felt like a lifetime.
Zane silently ate his eggs after giving thanks to Ashlynn, looking at the others every once in a while. Everyone else had started to clean up the mess they made, chatting and laughing along the way.
Derek and Sophie were twins, Sophie being older by a mere two minutes. They both shared their father's warm brown hair with toffee highlights. They both had their mothers golden tanned skin but they didn't share eye color. Derek's eye were a gray blue with flakes of darker blue while Sophie's eyes were a gray green with a ring of blue. Derek had his father's sharp jaw line and Sophie had her mother's soft sweetly curved jaw line. They had many things in common but there was a lot they didn't have in common.
"Where's the Doc?" Zane asked after realizing one of their members wasn't present.
"Outside talking to butterflies and chipmunks." Dante replied with a smile and a chuckle then looking past Zane, "Well speaking of the man himself." The sliding backdoor opened and entered the always classy dressed Doc. Doc wasn't the man's real name, just a nickname the group had given the man a long time ago since they didn't know his real name. Doc's light brown skin was complimented by the light yellow button up shirt and tan suit vest and slacks he wore. His burgundy wooded cane was held in his left hand, the golden circular top matching the ring on his finger.
"Good morning Zane." Doc greeted closing the door behind him.
"Good morning Doc. So what did the chipmunks say?" Zane asked jokingly. Doc always managed to cheer up Zane. He was the only father-figure that Zane ever knew and that is something he would never want to change.
"Ha Ha, very funny Dante." Doc replied with a wink to Zane.
"What? He said it not me." Dante protested with a grin and a head slap from Sophie.