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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Kisses from Yesterday - Final Part

Today I am finishing my critique of the first chapter of Angi Kelly's Adult Urban Fantasy, KISSES FROM YESTERDAY. When we last saw Alexis, she was talking to a strange man in her newly acquired house... 

Alexis’s heart pounded.  She felt its beat in her temple, heard its throbbing in her ears.  She jumped up and stumbled back, preparing to run if he came toward her.  His eyes met hers, and sorrow filled his face as he looked at her.
“I am sorry to have frightened you.  Please, sit back down.”
She stared at him, debating whether or not she was willing to take the risk, connection or no.  He sat down and looked at her, hands upraised, palms toward her.  His eyes were sorrowful, pleading with her.
“Please,” he said again.
Alexis sank back into the chair, her eyes never leaving his face.  Sighing, he ran his hand through his hair.
“Jonathan Crestwood did not commit suicide.  He went into Rebecca’s room that night and locked the door behind him, as he had almost every night since she died.  His tears soaked her pillow as he fell asleep.  He awoke later, not knowing what had wakened him.  He got up and went to the basin to splash water on his face, and then realized someone else was in the room with him.  He knew who she was the moment she spoke.  She came to him, trying to…comfort him, but the type of comfort she offered, he was not willing to take.”
“She wanted to seduce him?”
His eyes were dark as he answered.  “Yes, for lack of a better term.  When he refused her, she grew angry.  She told him he would always be hers, and if she couldn’t have him, no one could.  A man grabbed him and put a cloth over his face, and then he lost consciousness.”
He paused, his eyes unfocused, faraway.  Alexis waited, but when it seemed as though he wasn’t going to say anything else, she leaned forward.  “What happened after he lost consciousness?”
The question seemed to bring him back from whatever memory he was seeing in his mind.  He blinked and looked at her.
“When he awoke, he was tied to the bed and the woman was partially disrobed, straddling him.  She told him he could choose to take her, and then marry her, or he could choose to die.  He told her he would never take a woman such as her for his wife.  She slapped him, and told him she had been the one to arrange for Rebecca’s brutal death.”
He looked at the portrait of Rebecca, and then he sighed, a sound of weariness that seemed to come from deep within his soul.  Anger blazed in his eyes.
“Then, she told him he still had to choose…her or death.  He chose death.  They cut his wrists and watched as his lifeblood drained away, and when he died, they untied him and slipped out through the window.”
“How could you possibly know these things?  I mean, if you know, then why didn’t the authorities know?  They never caught who attacked Rebecca.”
He slammed his fist into his thigh.  “They never even looked twice at the woman who killed Jonathan.  Oh, people around here all suspected it, but no one ever questioned her closely about Rebecca’s death.  The woman eventually married a man who was new to the area and knew nothing about the events.  He later found out about the whole nasty affair, but by then it was too late.  He had already married what he originally believed to be a virtuous woman.”
“Who was this young woman?”
“Henrietta Jones.”
Alexis stared at him.  “Henrietta Jones?  Who was she?”
He nodded, his eyes burning with rage.  “An insane woman who hated Rebecca and wanted Jonathan for herself.”
“How is it you know so much about what happened that night?  It happened over a century ago, and you obviously weren’t there.”
He smiled sadly.  “But I was there, Alexis.  I lived through every horrifying moment of it.  I am Jonathan Crestwood.”
Alexis’s heart seemed to freeze in her chest, and then thudded painfully.  She stood, her fingers white from her grip on the chair.  Her lungs felt heavy, burning as she tried to breathe and couldn’t.  Black dots crowded her vision and dimmed the room around her.  She uttered no sound as she slid to the floor.


My thoughts: My first thought is that again I'm going to pick on the dialogue here. All the information that needs to be conveyed is here, but I think it could be conveyed more...gracefully. For example I might revise this paragraph so:

Alexis sank back into the chair, her eyes never leaving his face. He gave a deep sigh, running his hands through his hair.
“Jonathan Crestwood did not commit suicide. He went into Rebecca’s room that night as he had every night since she'd died and fell asleep on her bed, his tears soaking her pillow. When he woke later, he realized he was not alone, that someone else was there. At first his heart soared, thinking that by some miracle Rebecca had come back to him and the horror of her death had been a terrible dream. But as soon as he heard the voice his hope vanished, crushed by [insert some description of her here, perhaps, crushed by the darkness of her eyes, the cold calculating smile, something]. He knew who she was and why she'd come. She'd come to offer comfort, but not the sort he was willing to take."
Of course, this is just my opinion and we all know how subjective opinions are, but I do think this dialogue could be improved to read smoother. I might also suggest reading it out loud to hear how it flows. This always helps me catch places where the sentences stumble a little.

My final thought is that I think this is an intriguing start to what looks like a wicked cool ghost story. A big thank you to Angi for submitting this first chapter and readers, do chime in with any thoughts you might have.


Unknown said...

You were very productive. You did an amazing job with your goals. :) Have a great weekend.

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Angela said...

Thanks for reading, Marcy! I really appreciate the time you took to critique this chapter.