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Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago
Same as the other thread. I'm not even saying which contestants these stories belong to.

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago
Story #1 Duke is breathing heavily by the time he makes it to the front door of his house. He rams it open, slams it shut, and looks around the empty living room. “What the fuck? Dad!” The boy sprints to his parents' bedroom. His father pops out from the doorway, startling him. Duke notices his eyes are bloodshot, and crimson red. In addition, tears soak his entire lower face, even staining his red plaid shirt, and a little bit of his jeans. He wasn't crying. He was sobbing. Duke and his father stare at each other for a moment, before Duke pushes past the man and races into the room with the bag of stolen meds still in his left hand, knowing what this could mean. He immediately collapses to his knees. A child thought so strong turns into a toddler within an almost unnatural instant. Some may see it as simply a biological reaction. For Duke, it's life as he knows it being torn apart right in front of him. First his grandmother, now his mother, a lifeless corpse on her own bed. Nothing can stop this outbreak. It's going to kill them all. Duke's father just watches as the boy literally chokes, droplets of salty water falling to the hardwood he sits on. He's rocking back and forth, involuntarily releasing sounds he hasn't in many years, maybe even since he was born. The boy's head spins, and, suddenly, he can't hear anything anymore. His ears ring, his eyes sting and are now cracked with red veins. His hands go completely numb, before spreading up to his shoulders. He tries to open his eyes, but the pain is too great. Instead, he just allows himself to fall to the side, lying on the floor now, with his knees cradled against his chest. His father slowly walks in behind him, hesitantly picking up the bag of medicine. “I'm sorry. You'll join her soon.” He exits, not even looking back. Duke didn't hear him. His cries only grow louder. When a droplet of blood falls from the bed onto his elbow, he screams in sudden, undeniable rage, finally able to ignore the pain and open his eyes. It feels cold on his skin. He touches it, getting some on his finger. A violent swirl of emotion overcomes him. He grabs his hair with both hands and continues to scream, no one there to aid or comfort him. This was it. With her gone, there's really only one person he cares about left on this Earth. It's not his father, however. It never has been. Not after it happened. Not after that day when they both got arrested. Not after he put his hands on her. But none of that matters, now. Neither does the medicine. He was too late. He always is. There's some sort of rustling in the background as Tex speaks through the phone a couple hours later. “Duke, come over here. It's only getting worse out there, and you even said it yourself this is overwhelming you. Try to just convince your dad, and get over here. Please. I can't stand to think of you having to deal with this alone. The grid’s going down, anyways. We have to meet up sometime. What happens when I can't call you anymore? You promised we would get through this together. No matter what. The world is fucking ending, remember? I can't go through that without-” “I’m fucking trying!” Duke interrupts. “-you.” Tex finishes. She can hear how badly Duke is suffering. Anymore of this, and he might break, for the first time ever. That's right. Cool, level-headed Duke is no more, it seems. He's her only friend left. Literally all she has left, besides her parents. She can't let this happen. She has to help him. Before he does something that would surely break her. “Duke, listen-” “I know, I know,” he interrupts. “Tex, I'm not leaving you. Nor am I ever breaking my promise. But I can't,” he sighs deeply. “Can't what? Duke, talk to me.” She sounds deeply concerned, now. “I can't just leave. Not yet.” Tex begins to panic. “Huh? What do you mean? Duke, please! I need-” All power to Duke's house suddenly shuts off without a sound. He stares at his phone in extreme disbelief. “What? No!” Silence fills the entire house. Even the usual sounds of screams, gunshots, and sirens outside cease. Fear consumes the boy sitting in his bedroom alone. He carefully sets his phone down. “Dad? Dad!” No response. His heart beats harder, faster, and begins to hurt with each beat, like it's tearing through his chest. His ears are filled with the sound of air, and his eyes focus in the dark. As he rises from the bed, his legs tremble. Everything feels numb once more. His fingers seem to sting as he clenches his fists. Adrenaline is flowing through him like water through a pipe. Nothing seems real anymore; the next few seconds are pure reaction. Instinct. Thinking is now impossible, the voice normally in his head, his verbal? conscience, has disappeared. Abandoned him. Duke rushes to his desk, retrieving his flashlight and knife. He holds the torch in his left hand, the blade in the other, his dominant. Carefully, and with exasperated breaths, he proceeds to carefully exit his room, shuffling instead of taking full steps. “Dad?” He yells, once in the hallway. The boy struggles to see in the pitch blackness surrounding him, instilling dread. He pushes his parents' bedroom door back open. Nothing. But his mother's corpse is gone. A trail of blood leads from inside deeper into the house, where the kitchen and living room are. “What the fuck?” It makes sense for his dad to dispose of her body, since the current state of emergency means any kind of funeral would be impossible, even in their backyard. But why didn't he wrap her up? Why did he just sloppily drag her off the bed and... A crash from the kitchen alerts Duke. He raises his flashlight, and slowly continues down the hall. “Dad?” He passes the bathroom. “Dad?” When Duke enters the living room and looks into the open-floor kitchen, he immediately freezes, dropping his knife and light. There, on the dining table, lies his mother, her corpse chopped up, spread all across like a star. To the right, stands Duke's father. He has a lantern lit near the toaster, giving an ominous blue glow to the cramped space, and some of the living room. He's preparing something, a bloody pan and pot sitting in front of him. He seems to be playing with both of them. He doesn't seem to know the oven is off, like everything else. Several veins bulge out of his forehead, looking ready to burst at any given moment. His eyes are crossed, and he repeatedly puffs out his cheeks and grunts, as if constipated. Sometimes, he squeals. The man dawns an apron, and it's caked in blood, just like his hands. He begins to randomly shout. “Ma-ma-ma. Ma-ma. Ma-ma-ma-ma!” As he does this, Duke lowers his head and stares at the floor. He has now lost both parents to the disease. His entire family is now gone. No, not his entire family. His best friend is still out there. If the entire city grid went out, then she's in trouble too. Duke looks up a little. A single and final tear falls. “Tex.” His father's incoherent mumbles grow louder. “Chop! Chop-chop! Chop-chop-chop-” “Shut up!” Duke screams. His fear becomes anger. His sadness becomes rage. His hopelessness becomes passion. A lost will reforms. A newfound will to fight. To survive. To never lose anyone else again. The boy slowly picks up his weapon and torch as his father, with a pale face and soulless eyes, slowly cranes his head as he stares at his son. Silent moments pass, until, out of nowhere, Duke's infected father vaults over the counter with surprising speed, brandishing a dirty meat cleaver. Duke shines the light into his eyes, blinding him, then shoves his knife into the man's chest. Seconds later, he is slammed through the coffee table. Duke's father sits on top of the boy, raining down hammer fists that stun the boy. He makes a grab for the cleaver. That's when Duke grabs the knife in his chest and attempts to drive it into his neck. Instead, it enters his arm, and Duke is punished for his mistake when the cleaver is firmly lodged into his shoulder. Duke screams in agony, searing pain taking over the focus of his mind. His father yanks out the knife, and slashes it across the boy's chest and stomach, over and over, over and over. Several new slices decorate Duke's body. Blood flies as Duke scrambles free of his father's mounted position. He attempts to crawl towards the corner behind him, but is quickly seized by his father, who drops the knife and tears the cleaver from his shoulder, striking him in the side with it. He leaves it there again, and retrieves the knife. Duke is now squirming on the floor, grabbing the handle, but mentally refusing to pull it free. His father towers over him, now just a black figure here in the back of the room, and begins to repeatedly run the knife over his body once more. Duke freaks, kicking one of the man's knees out, before he catches his foot after a second one and throws it to the side, climbing on top of the boy once more. He grabs his left hand and drives the bloody blade through it, literally pinning Duke's hand to the floor like Jesus on the cross. Agonizing screams fill the house, but his father's expression remains the exact same. From the pale moonlight shining in through the top of the front door, Duke can make out, just for a second, tears streaming down the man's face. “Sorry,” he whimpers. He raises the cleaver. “Sorry-sorry-sorry-sorry-sorry-sorry-sorry-” In an instant, Duke rips the knife from his left hand with his right, and slashes it across his father's throat. Blood sprays onto Duke's face. The poor man falls back, landing on the floor, gurgling. Duke lies there, still, heavily breathing, and several minutes pass. Duke sits on his bed again later that night, phone in hand. He has just dialed Tex’s number for the final time. Blood pours from his broken nose into his mouth, and the several lacerations all over his torso still sting. He shakily lifts the device to his ear. “Duke, what happened?” Tex shouts rattily from the speaker. “The power went out. My dad left," he pauses to swallow hard. "To go see my mom.”

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago
Story #2 The air seemed to be glowing, almost blinding as they traversed up the winding road. She held his hand with a smile, their faces warm in the safety of the vehicle. “It feels like forever since you’ve had time off work,” she rubs his palm with her thumb. He took his eyes off the road for a second to look at his wife, a smile grew on his face. Soft snow crunched loudly under the wheels as they came to a stop on the empty lot in front of the looming structure. He parked, and began unloading their light luggage from the back. She stood, staring in awe. It was perfect. The resort stood tall, with peaked roofs and quaint windows. Cream colored walls were supported by dark wooden beams. Snow collected on any flat surface exposed. They walked in the large wooden doors, gazing up at the intricate decoration as they stepped in. Various animal heads lined the walls, large antlers protruding out of one above a blazing fireplace. Warm colored sofas and rugs scattered the floor, a few wooden tables at the sides and in the middle. The only sign of life was a man to their right, dressed in a dress shirt, red vest, and a black bowtie. He stood behind a wooden counter, as if waiting for them. The pair made their way over, greeting him. “Could we book a room for two?” Her husband questioned the man. His response was only a nod, as he directed their attention to a sheet of lined paper. The sign in sheet was blank, none of the spots filled. He filled in their names, Henry and Linda, followed by the date. The man offered a closed grin, looking at each of them. He handed Henry a silver key, with their number engraved on it. They walked through the halls, reading the room numbers until they got to 109. The door closed, a soft click escaping into the silence. The sky had gotten dark. Linda sat, propped up on a pillow in bed, wearing a pair of reading glasses. She skimmed a magazine left in one of the drawers. It featured women’s summer wear, dating to 1994. “Henry?” she called out into the room, gaining no response. After a few moments of silence, she set the magazine down, walking to the other end of the room. “Henry?” Linda repeated, but to no avail. Panicking, she picked up her phone and began to pull up his contact, when her husband came through the door. Closing it, he saw Linda’s scared expression. “What’s wrong?” Henry walked over, putting a hand on her shoulder. Linda let out a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding, “nothing, I was just uh, just thinking.” The golden sun shone over the snow topped trees onto the resort. Songbirds sung their jolly melodies and all was well. Henry and Linda traversed the halls, until they stumbled upon a room that seemed to be a dining hall. A table stretched almost the length of the room, many chairs lining the sides. Each seat was set completely, water in every cup. The couple sat at the nearest end hesitantly, looking around the bright room. A few moments later, the same worker that greeted them the night before came through a door to the side of the room, carrying out platters of food. He set down the plates at their end, and left back through the door. Linda and Henry looked at each other, each seeming to ask the other what was happening. After a minute, he came back out, bringing a smaller spread, setting it on the far side of the table. He sat down, unrolling his cloth napkin and laying it on his lap. As they got back to their room, the couple couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling growing inside them. Linda layed there, still. Henry was sound asleep beside her, but she couldn’t sleep. A distant tapping sound burned into her head, the silence between each tick deafening. And the voices. They hadn’t seen any other customers, yet the muffled monotone drone below them carried on. The ticking stopped. Every noise in the world came to a halt, not daring to make a sound. Linda sat up, suddenly more awake than ever. The darkness that engulfed her seemed to grow, then all was white. Linda woke up, feeling nothing but a pulsing pain on the side of her head. As she came to, she realized something was wrong, and looked around, frantically. The lobby was dark, the only light coming from the dim fireplace and several candles circling the floor. There was a rope tied around her arms and torso, connecting her to a wooden chair. The man crouched on the floor, muttering something incoherent, with a shallow bowl next to him. Across from Linda was her husband, it was hard to tell if he was alive or dead. Henry sat hunched, barely moving save a shaky breath every few seconds. A thick rope tied him down, almost unnecessary as it didn’t look like he’d be going anywhere in his condition. The man looked up, startled she was awake. He stood, not breaking eye contact. The manager pulled a small knife from his pocket, grabbing Linda’s arm. She shrieked, trying to pull away, but his grip was strong. Cutting a small line on her wrist, he collected what blood came out into the bowl. He crouched back down, continuing his work. Linda tossed herself to the side, snapping the back of the chair. The man lunged at her as she got herself untangled from the splintered wood. “You get away from us!” Linda kicked at the manager, wailing out for anyone who wasn’t there. She picked up the dagger, sinking it into her attacker’s leg. He let out a scream of pain, grasping desperately at the wound. She stumbled to her feet, not daring to turn back as she ran for the door. The stinging cold air bit at every exposed bit of skin as soon as she opened the door, but she kept on. Heart racing and tears streaming down her blood plastered face, Linda staggered as fast as she could down the path. The cries of pain she left behind were swallowed by the howling wind, carrying her down, and away from this hell.

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago
Votes in reply to this post only. And kudos to those of you who experience the true horror, reading four stories by mostly noobs. Although I think all four of these are better than most of what we usually get for these duels.

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago
Reserved, I only took a skim and no clear winner presents itself yet.

Edit:
Okay. After reading deeper, I would have to vote for story 1.

I'm terrible at giving descriptions, so I'll give a short bit of what I feel.

While story 2 had a great build-up to the 'horror' part, I feel that it was lacking in comparison to the 'feel' that permeated story 1. I'm not saying story 1 was perfect, but it has an edge over 2.

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago
Commended by TharaApples on 11/22/2021 4:49:42 PM

I preferred story 1.

Both are better written than anything I've read from the previous writing battle, so kudos to you writers!

While story 2 had a nice build up with a lot of nice sensory description, it kind of lacked the nice flair story 1 had. When I read the first story, the reader gets the initial impression that the mom had passed away due to the infection and that the dad was only sad about her passing and worried that the son will follow soon. Then this perception slowly shifts and the big reveal is that the dad is actually infected and it is heavily implied that the father killed the mom. A pretty fun bait and switch with the dad dying instead of the son.

This twist makes the second read also a lot more interesting since you knew who this "her" was in the sentence "after what he did to her". There's also a very nice callback that wraps up the ending really well in story 1: “I'm sorry. You'll join her soon.” and at the end that he told his friend that his dad joined his mum. I think that this is my favorite moment in the story. There's honestly a lot of thought put into it.

Story 1 also did weave the exposition of the virus/infection thing pretty well in the narrative. I always like it if a story doesn't force the player to sit down and listen to some uninteresting virus blabla apocalypse blabla exposition. It was rather competently interwoven with the dialogue and the thoughts of the boy.

Story 2 did the resort stuff; couple goes into a motel/hotel etc and get horribly killed/sacrificed. I just have seen this kind of story so many times, that it just isn't that appealing to me. There's nothing that is really terrifying to be honest, especially when I was the whole time thinking; why can't you just LEAVE.

The couple also doesn't have a single lick of personality even compared to the boy in story 1, so it's actually hard to care about them. I know that it's difficult to make a character's personality shine with such a low word limit. However, in story 1 we at least know that the boy cared deeply about his mom, resented his father, has a friend and that either the virus had gotten him too/he is pretty cold hearted about killing his dad. 

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago

My vote goes to story 1. For a lot of the reasons already stated by Darius. I also think that the first story is my favorite of the 4 because it feels complete. It had a beginning, middle, and a conclusive end. The other stories struggled a bit to me in that regard. They had exposition, rising action, and climax, but falling actions and resolution seemed to be missing. Or, at the very least, not prominent. The last sentence or two of story 1 definitely made it too. By far the best part of the story, and was the difference between being open ended and close ended in my opinion. Kudos to the author there. 

As for story 2, the writing itself wasn't bad. In fact I could argue it was some of the best, easiest to read of the 4 stories. It suffered from blandness. I wasn't very engaged, and the story was predictable.  You know how much more fun the story would have been if the husband had gone missing, but only to find out that the husband was the killer all along? The reason that they went somewhere so secluded was so he could finally get rid of his wife. Something like that would have caught my interest more, and, assuming the writing was as good as it is, may have even placed it above the first one. 

Both were well written though. I am pleasantly surprised by the quality of all the entries.

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago
My vote goes to story #2.

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago
I vote for story 1

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago

Definitely Story 1.  The mechanics of writing were much more polished than Story 2, and the pacing and narration were smoother.  I felt much more authorial control in Story 1.  Story 2 clearly had some interesting stuff going on, but I thought it had too much set up, making it too bottom-heavy, whereas Story 1 had interesting writerly stuff going on in the prose right away.

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago

I like the 1st one better. I never thought a zombie story would have a more interesting flavor than most, but this had a psychological take on an otherwise familiar premise that made the other one harder to get into by comparison. The copious violence helped too.

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago
Commended by TharaApples on 11/22/2021 4:50:01 PM
First of all: well done to you both for submitting something, making you infinitely better than if you hadn’t entered anything. I’ll write both my reviews, then say which I think is better. Obviously though ‘Rude am I in my speech,
And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace’ so I’m no professional: this is simply the opinion of one novice going to two others.

Story one:
It might just be me, but something about the style of this script was weird. The POV changing also threw me off, but actually this worked well within the genre since it made me feel like something was strange: well done for using your perverted prose to give me the shivers.
Despite this, your sentence structure could use mixing up a little. Try to add some simple ones into those more sizeable sentences to spruce it up. Also ‘dawns’ (as in when the POV’s father is putting on an apron) means to start or begin classically. I think you meant ‘donned’ as in to put on an item of clothing.
Finally, and this is more of a nitpick than anything, you used the word ‘blood’ and ‘red’ a lot: the more you use gore the less effective it is. Try utilising something else to make the macabre moments less monotonous, puss perhaps?

Story two:
This one has a lot of buildup, a lot of foreshadowing, a lot of mounting dread and… not a lot of substance. I felt that a sizeable section of the actual story happened in the last few paragraphs, which would be fine if any of the previous portentous prose had actually eluded to the eventual ending. I knew something horror-related was going to occur from the strange lack of sleep and other classic literary devices, but what actually occurred in the climax wasn’t really that original or exciting. It could’ve been cool if the motives were more than just ‘I’m a creepy hotel manager and I wish to hurt a married couple’.
I’d suggest looking into how to structure a story to improve.
On a more positive note, the constant fear something was going to happen was well presented: plus that door-host dude was somewhat unnerving even in the beginning.

Overall I’ll cast my vote for story one, though as others have stated: both are the best ‘dual’ writing I’ve seen in a while.

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago

Story #1 is decent.   It would be more effective if it had time to show Duke actually being level-headed before his mother's death, as it is, we have to take the story's word for it.  It's not too much of a horror story, either, as the ending is ultimately as positive as could be expected, and there isn't much suspense.  It's more of an action story.

Story #2 is also decent.  Right away, I thought the writing style was less clunky with description than any of the other entries.  That said, not much happens.  There's a suspenseful buildup that fails to actually include any real foreshadowing, and a conclusion that leaves the story completely unresolved.

Props to both authors.  Story #1 had a clear plot that knew exactly where it was going, while story #2 had a firm understanding of description that doesn't distract.

I guess I'm voting for story one.  Despite the slight edge story #2 has in terms of sentence structure, the plot itself doesn't make enough sense, or create enough tension, to beat out the clear direction story #1 has.

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago

Story 2.

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago
I liked Story 1 more. Both were pretty good entries, but Story 1 had a more intriguing premise and kept me interested right 'til the end. My only issue with it is it often told instead of shown - I would have liked to have seen a calmer Duke before the incident rather than just be told that Duke was once levelheaded before the events of the story. The second story was good as well, but it just didn't keep me as interested the way Story 1 did, so the first will have my vote.

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago

Gonna have to join the masses and vote for story 1.  The lack of payoff by itself in the second story, after all that build-up, is enough to finalize that choice.  Good efforts from both of you, though.

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago

It's a pretty close one for me, but I'll vote for story #2.

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago
Commended by TharaApples on 11/23/2021 4:53:01 PM

Once again, time for more reviews! It didn’t feel right to write detailed feedback for only the first duel, hence the reason behind this second text wall. Usual disclaimer: I’m not a professional writer by any means, nor am I a seasoned reviewer, so do conduct your own research and bear in mind that not everything here may be correct. As for potential readers, beware of spoilers galore.

Story 1

  • I've just finished writing notes on the first duel's stories, and this one has a better start than the ones I've read so far. Right off the bat, there's suspense and questions to be answered. Then... we suddenly see a shift in tense. But maybe that just signifies that the dad had been sobbing but no longer is?

  • The 'child thought so strong' part comes off as a bit confusing to me. Might just be my morning tiredness though.

  • I like the ominous tone in the story, which maintains my interest and compels me to read on.

  • There are some formatting issues where the 'enter' key must have been accidentally pressed.

  • You use third person limited to show Duke's inner thoughts, then the second section shifts to Tex as the point-of-view character. Although it's separated by empty lines, maybe adding 'xxx's pov' might prevent the break in immersion? It's nothing major although it distracted me momentarily.

  • Tex stating that Duke is levelheaded seems jarring, especially since this trait doesn't seem to be present in Duke in the first segment of the story.

  • Turns out it's third person omniscient instead? Although the dad's thoughts are never explored so I’m not entirely sure if this is the case. 

  • The sudden power shutting off is unexpected and executed well. Suspense is conveyed through minor details like the verbal conscious shutting off too and the mum's corpse disappearing.

  • I knew the dad would be evil, yet the way it's described and the use of sentence fragments enhances the narrative as well.

  • The fight scene might be better if it's spaced out a bit more, and includes less ambiguity surrounding who 'he' refers to at times. That will reduce my need to backread. 

  • It's a bit 'this happens, then that happens' without any pauses for a while, so maybe changing the pacing a little could work? For instance, letting the reader register Duke's injuries while the pair try to hide from one another in a darkened area might add suspense. It could also make the gory details more impactful before launching into the next stages of the battle and diluting the whole fight.

  • Ooh, I quite like the last line. It shows Duke's complete change in character and makes me wonder whether he's the villain instead.

This story seems well-written. There's a logical sequence of events, a satisfying conclusion, and well-defined characters. Emotions are also imbued through the text. This made me able to empathize with the main character a bit more. Overall, it's a good entry.

Story 2

  • I start off by wondering how air can be 'glowing', although I suppose you get points for piquing my curiosity there.

  • Action beats after dialogue should be followed by full stops, whereas commas are reserved for dialogue tags.

  • I'm getting Christmas vibes from the descriptive sections at the start. Not sure if it is intentional or I’m just in the Christmas spirit, yet at least it's somewhat immersive.

  • Slight grammatical errors are present; still, nothing too distracting or major.

  • Lots of details are mentioned, like the room number and the contents of the magazine. These can be useful if they are foreshadowing future events or grounding the reader in the scene, but if it doesn't seem to be the case, it might be best to remove unnecessary details. That will give you more words for the pivotal scenes, like the climax or conclusion.

  • The shift in tone when Linda gets frightened is a good way to gradually build up the tension in the story.

  • This story is kind of a slow-burn in terms of the way the events unfold. It gradually gets more mysterious as I read, especially during the dining hall scene and the scene where Linda lays in bed unable to sleep. Tone and atmosphere are effectively used to convey a sense of dread.

  • At the end, the blackout scene was... well unexpected. I'm also not sure where the dagger that Linda used came from.

  • The vividness of the gory scene made it impactful.

  • While the ending was decently written and descriptive, the concept falls short a little. I suppose there are too many questions left unanswered, like what the smaller spread meant during the dining hall scene and why the manager is such a sadistic villain.

Just like the previous bracketed duel, I will use the same metrics for judging this round. While grammatical errors are fewer in these stories compared to the previous two, I would say they're both at roughly the same level unless I missed something major. I hope I didn't. Both stories seemed to be considered horror (or so I think, since I don't read horror often) and they hinted at a smart villain. Then comes the enjoyability factor—I'd personally say that I enjoyed the first story more. The satisfying conclusion and more well-developed characters ultimately means it stood out more for me than the concept of a couple visiting a desolate resort.

My vote goes for the first story.

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago

Voting for story number 1.

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

I vote for Story #2. The prose was much better, though I feel like the ending was rushed, like the writer just ran out of ideas or time. Lines like "'It feels like forever since you’ve had time off work,' she rubs his palm with her thumb," "She stood, staring in awe. It was perfect," and "Linda let out a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding" were the most elegant sentences I read this whole contest. Story #2 had the best balance of word economy and descriptive details. Story #1 did the best job of making me care about the protagonist, but it didn't have anything resembling a smart villain as per the instructions that I could tell, some sentences were overwritten ("A child thought so strong turns into a toddler within an almost unnatural instant" and "His ears are filled with the sound of air, and his eyes focus in the dark" are examples of lots of words that say little), there were times during the fight scene when it was confusing as to who your pronouns were referring to ("he" was used multiple times not to refer to the last male character mentioned, but rather the other one), and there were some jarring transitions from third-person limited to a more omniscient POV.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

If it's not too late I'd like to vote for the first one. The second one just didn't have enough of the actual horror part and there was way too much build up for such a short story. The first one had problems too, but I liked the overall mood of it and the last line was amazing! 

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago
I vote for Numbah 1, it just feels the most like a tense horror story out of all 4.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

Número 1

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

Story 1

Bracketed Dueling #2

6 days ago

Current Votes (In case anyone is curious how close things are)

 

Story #1: 16

 

Story #2: 4

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

The plots and the protagonists' actions don't make any sense. I get that horror stories like to use mystery and confusion for suspense, but they still have to make sense at least in hindsight. Neither of the stories felt particularly "horrific" in terms of increasing my heart-rate either. It seems that I'm in the minority on this, but I would vote for either of the stories from bracket 1 over these 2. I don't have a preference between these two stories, so I'm not casting a vote on this one.

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago
This is the third time I have to say this.

Your vote is currently uncounted and invalid due to the improper positioning of the post. It was specifically specified that the vote shall be registered under Mizal's post, as of now, your vote counts as commentary.

If you wish to vote on the story, please reply to the post indicated as the voting location. My apologies.

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

As stated, I don't intend to vote. This is purely commentary.

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago
Ah! I'm sorry.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

: )

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

silly goose

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago
That's a penguin, not a goose.

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

ah my bad

btw I like your eagle pfp

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago
Lol, that's supposed to be a raven (or a crow), but it's kind of hard to tell with a front view like that.

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

:)

I swear to fucking god are you literally autistic

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago
I didn't realize it was possible to be figuratively autistic, but I'm not a doctor.

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago
Now now, bondo, let's not pick fights everywhere. Lux is just offering a simple explanation, right?

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

It would be more fun to let him though. Mizal's protection can only go so far until he digs a pit so large that he can't get out. 

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago
I was trying to be nice, believe it or not. He showed an interest in my profile picture, and I thought he'd be interested to know that it isn't an eagle skull. Next time, I suppose, I'll just call him a retard for not knowing the difference between an eagle's skull and a raven's/crow's skull at that angle.

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

I mean you tried but ya can't fix stupid.

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

do none of you get the joke

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

I mean since we all laughing at you, obviously we get the joke that is your life.

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

ok let me explain it to you numbnuts

penguin did an uh oh and I called him a silly goose, not relating to his status as a penguin. Lux took offence and said he was a penguin, implying I was dumb enough to think he was a goose. I then sarcastically apologized and said his pfp was a eagle when it is obviously of the corvid varitey, as a parody to the previous "incident". I then asked if he was autistic because he doesn't seem to get jokes or social cues.

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

The thing is...when you routinely foam at the mouth for, objectively, no reason, it is really easy to assume your words are the result  a lack of mental capacity instead of a fine tuned humor. You'd also get more respect if your merits were larger, and you weren't so deep in debt.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago
Why are you such a pretentious faggot

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago
Now now, soy, let's not pick fights here as well. Ebon is pretty respected around here for his merits.

Besides, I don't see much wrong with his message, it's just criticism of Bondo.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago
Soy will probably see this when he logs in again six weeks from now.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago
I'm going to be reading a lot of stories over the next few days so I'll be around.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago
I wasn't picking a fight, I was asking a question.

Everyone in that argument was cringe but all EbonVasilis posts are the work of a condescending douchelord who thinks he's an intellectual talking down to the drooling masses. If you haven't noticed maybe that indicates something.

And this isn't picking a fight either, it's called making observations.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

Look at this faggot here.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago
What are you going to do, take my points?

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

You have no points worth taking.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

Such "in depth" observations for someone who has read only a few of my posts, and seems to think they know so much about me. The reason for why I made that post should be obvious if you actually took time to breathe and think before posting an insult that automatically categorizes you with the "autists" that were arguing here earlier. 
 

Sidenote: Tmana and Lux are actually a bit more fun to have around, and i have some level of respect for them.
 

To summarize:

 

lol fag

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago
He wasn't wrong though.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

Depends on how you look at it.

Edit: If you actually want to read something pretentious, then go find End's romance story contest a couple of years back. I was way more of a braggart back then than now.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago
Ah yes, indubitably, just be "dismissive" of the "offending" post, how else would someone like "you" ever reply?

Strange you would just assume you knew how many of your posts I had read, but then it's obvious you do think you know everything.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

Ah yes, indubitably, just be "dismissive" of the "offending" post, how else would someone like "you" ever reply?

Strange you would just assume you knew how many of your posts I had read, but then it's obvious you do think you know everything.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago
Yes correct, that is what I said.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

Yes correct, that is what I said.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

y'know it really doesn't have the same effect with different pfps

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

y'know it really doesn't have the same effect with different pfps

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

perfect

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

perfect

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago
perfect

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

I have no obligation to answer someone I have never had a conversation with. Let alone one who insults me out of no where. If you have read more than a few of my posts, as you claim, than you would know that I much prefer to settle disagreements through actual bouts. Insult-derived arguements don't really tend to go anywhere useful, and the only real winners there are the by-standers. If you have a problem with me or my attitude, then go join the contest make an additional bet against you beating me there. I listen to people who back their anger or annoyance up with action. 

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago
This post is your way of convincing people you're not a faggot?

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

No, I am not gay, a faggot, or whatever other word you would like to use. 

But clearly your problems with me are not based on sexual orientation. Hence, the rest of my posts are directed towards that. I guess its my mistake to assume you can a read post and understand what the words there mean. I'll re-word it simply. 

You are a user of low importance. Get good by writing something in a contest that doesn't land you 11th place.

Oh, and while you are at it, go hang up your white knight armor. Of all the people to come aid, you decide Bonfaggle is the one.  Although it does make sense for two users that are in the negative in points to be in bed together. 

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago
Lmao you should try reading this out loud. I don't even need to do anything, you're doing enough by yourself to prove my point many times over.

But alrighty, I can see all peaceful options are exhausted and there's only one way to settle this.

Bracketed Dueling #2

3 days ago
Even after such a busy day of delightful feasting I can still find it in me to snicker at this self important little bitch thinking that writing his "crowning" fantasy story three YEARS ago and doing nothing else since makes him a user of high importance.

And if points are such a high mark of status, why do you only have 200? You've been here for five years.

Bracketed Dueling #2

3 days ago
Look you seem very enthusiastic so I don't know how to tell you this, but if you're not willing to get greased up and touch Africans for the Lord, you're just never going to be on Ebon's level.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

lol fag

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

Yeah no your aren't as smooth as you think you are. Your stupidity just overwhelmed any possible comedy. I got it, your just a fuck up so I don't care for your feable attempts. 

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago
This is like watching a duo of dwarves argue which one of them is the tallest.

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

This thread goes hard as fuck. Feels like "old" CYS

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago
You assumed I was offended... I've lost any semblance of respect I've ever had for you. Honestly, getting docked a point for autist on autist violence was well-deserved on both of our parts.

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

Well deserved but funny, unlike a certain chucklefuck

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

Lol

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

Lux took offence and said he was a penguin, implying I was dumb enough to think he was a goose.

That was obviously a joke. Are you autistic? 

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

I'm almost feeling bad for Bondo's surefire upcoming point deduction.

Thara, whatever you do with the frog, you have my useless approval. Mizal is just too good-natured.

Edit: aargh, I really had predicted this scuffle

Bracketed Dueling #2

5 days ago

I wanna make a guess on this bracket: Story 1 is Voldy's and Story 2 is Bondo's. Reason? I have higher expectations for Voldy than Bondo, gut feeling.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

Honestly haven't paid much attention to the thread, let alone the stories but I am amused by the new rivalries and feuds brewing.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

Oh, also glad to see a lot of the newer members (and returning/lurking old ones) fully immersing themselves in the rich inclusive culture here.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago
indeed. I'd like to thank all our duelists for making this orgy of noob violence possible.

Bracketed Dueling #2

4 days ago

I know we the butt of the joke here but it's been entertaining so your welcome.

Winner of Duel #2

3 days ago
Okay, so this was a pretty one sided beatdown with Voldy's story winning by a landslide.

As it should've been since Bond is a tiny child and Voldy picked the theme. Honestly if Voldy had lost, that would've been hilarious and very difficult to live down. (Although not as hilarious as that time we all made Corgi lose to a 12 year old girl for lols....)

Anyway, thank you both for showing up, this has been a duel with an impressive amount of voter participation even before the brawling spilled out in the stands.

Morgan, as usual, did nothing of value.

Bondy unfortunately does not win the prize of Discord access that started all this, but he did manage to provide a way for Voldy to become more accepted, which I'm sure is nearly just as good, if you tilt your head and squint. A Thanksgiving miracle!

Anyways, both contestants go ahead and reply here for commendations.

Winner of Duel #2

3 days ago
Commended by mizal on 11/25/2021 12:35:47 PM

I pretty much knew I wouldn't win, but this was really fun! I really appreciate all the critique y'all gave, and I think I might fix it up a bit and repost it later. I did only spend a couple hours writing mine so hopefully next round I'll have more time. Congrats Voldy. :)

Winner of Duel #2

3 days ago
Commended by mizal on 11/25/2021 8:42:21 PM
Apologies for the lateness; stuffed my face full of mashed potatoes all day.

Horror is something I feel strongly in and so I had a blast writing that story. I picked something familiar and ran with it. I wrote that story in about 4 hours or so, total.

Bondo actually turned in a piece that I think surprised everyone. All memes aside, kid, you're not a bad writer, and I gotta admit, after reading yours, I got a bit nervous. Keep it up. Don't get too discouraged.

I got a lot of great, constructive feedback on my own piece. Thank you to everyone who took the time to offer that; I will definitely take it all to heart as I continue to improve.

And, of course, thank you to everyone who voted, no matter who you voted for. I think these types of little events are great entertainment but also good for people to exercise their creative muscles and get some proper feedback from actual fellow writers.

That is all.

Winner of Duel #2

3 days ago
Congrats on your elevated status!

Winner of Duel #2

3 days ago
Heh, I don't personally consider it elevated yet. As surprisingly good as his story was, I'm not gonna act like defeating a dude who sticks frogs up his ass a feat.

We'll see how my bout with Lux goes. I'm worried about him; from what I hear, his ass is perfectly frogless.

Winner of Duel #2

3 days ago

oh we can change that

Winner of Duel #2

3 days ago
Good luck anyway, I’m chee-

Wait, I bet on lux. Oh well.

Winner of Duel #2

3 days ago
Don't worry, I'll make sure to put up another fight, at least.