Short story: Hellhounds

I thought I’d make a Halloween special and write a horrorish short story (“-ish” being the key morpheme here). Here is what I came up with.

~*~

Some beasts are roaming around. I can hear them growl. I caught a glimpse of them once: dog head, black fur, glowing red eyes. They seem out of place. Why are they here?

They’re coming after me. I have to run. I can still keep them at a distance, but they’re getting closer. They’re getting faster. I have to keep sprinting. I can’t keep that up much longer.

Somebody save me.

I felt the pain before I realised they had caught me. Hellhounds, that’s what they are. They’re cutting through my skin with their claws and teeth. One of them has ripped my belly open and is chewing at my guts, the other has torn off my heart. I can’t yell, I am choking on my own blood. My whole body is convulsing.

I should be dead.

I touch my chest, there is no wound. The hounds are immaterial. Yet I feel them shredding my whole being into pieces.

They’re eating my soul.

They’re tearing it apart and swallowing it. The torment is unspeakable. I wish they would kill me and put an end to this torture. I beg for mercy.

Somebody kill me.

It’s over. They’ve eaten it all and left. I feel good. The pain is gone and I can think clearly. My emotions are gone too, but I am better without them. They only made me suffer. I’m ready to start a new life. I have no purpose anymore, but I have stopped caring about such whims.

I am free.

One cruel angel retrieved parts of my soul and gave them back to me. I told her to leave me alone, to mind her own business, but she wouldn’t listen. “You need it,” she said. Like hell!

I am in agony.

My soul is in pieces. It is bleeding. The angel said I had to sew the pieces back together, but I don’t know how. I cannot focus on the task. I hurt so much. It’s like the hounds are eating me from the inside.

God came to me in my sleep. She assembled two pieces of my soul. I know how to do now. I can do this.

It looked easy when God did it. For me, it’s impossible.

I went to see a prophet. He is enlightened. He knows how to sew souls together, but he cannot do it for me, so he’s teaching me how.

This is difficult. It is taking so long. I can’t do this. Just let me die.

I went to see the prophet again. He taught me patience. I sewed other parts together. I think I’m getting the hang of it.

That’s it. It’s done, finally! My soul is back together. I feel good. I can see things clearly now.

There were no hellhounds.

There was no angel.

There was no God.

Only me.

And the prophet.

My therapist.

~*~

Seriously, I’m experimenting here and I have no idea whether this is any good. I’m glad I wrote it though; it was cathartic.

Critics are welcome!

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17 thoughts on “Short story: Hellhounds

  1. Hiya, I stumbled across your blog, and I see you asked for critiques, so here I go. I try to be as real as possible so as to combat the usual, generalised comments everyone receives on their blog posts.

    Here we go. I’ll start out with general points, some line edits and comments, and then sum up at the end.

    Take everything I say with a grain of salt, (your own salt, I didn’t bring any.)

    Well, your story is definitely gripping, and quite visceral. The twist at the end was a nice surprise, and not totally cliche either, which makes a nice change from the lot of the stuff I see on WordPress.

    You have some issues with point of view, your tenses, and also your description and exposition. I’ll get to all those in the line edits.

    – Some beasts are roaming around. I can hear them growl.

    Well. As far as first lines go, it works OKAY. I mean, starting your story with the word “some” is something I’d generally advise against. It’s vague and not very evocative. Right away you, as a writer, are letting me down. I don’t know what these beasts are, all I know is that they are “some” beasts. That’s not particularly interesting, or really that evocative.

    There is also the issue with tense, which crops up a lot in this piece. It should be, “I can hear them growling.” You can’t establish a tense in the first sentence and then wreck it in the second. Tense shifting takes time to establish and play with. Others might disagree with me, but this threw me right off.

    – I caught a glimpse of them once: dog head, black fur, glowing red eyes. They seem out of place. Why are they here?

    You see what I mean with the tense? “I caught a glimpse of them once,” – instantly you’ve lost me, once where? when was this? just now, or before, in some other time? I’m confused.

    Your description of the beasts is fairly cliched. I mean, having a dog head and black fur and glowing red eyes is not groundbreaking description, or a groundbreaking beast. For the purposes of your story, I suppose it works. I just wish there was something more instantly gratifying here. Something powerful and provocative. Just something a little different from your typical scary dog monster with red eyes.

    – They seem out of place. Why are they here?

    Why are they where? I’m lost, just a wee bit lost. You’ve established some mystery though, which is where your stronger point of this story comes through. You are leading towards something. I am engaged.

    – They’re coming after me. I have to run. I can still keep them at a distance, but they’re getting closer. They’re getting faster. I have to keep sprinting. I can’t keep that up much longer.

    This is a bit all over the place. You could shorten this right down and it would be much more effective. At first, they’re chasing the narrator. The narrator is running. The narrator can keep them at a distant…but obviously not, because they are getting closer. Oh, and, they’re getting faster…more running, can’t keep up. Can you see the problem here? It’s all a bit slammed together, rushed almost. You would be much better off saying, and just saying, “they’re chasing me,” and save me from getting bogged down in all this excess description.

    – I felt the pain before I realized they had caught me. Hellhounds, that’s what they are. They’re cutting through my skin with their claws and teeth. One of them has ripped my belly open and is chewing at my guts, the other has torn off my heart. I can’t yell, I am choking on my own blood. My whole body is convulsing.

    “I felt the pain,” well, tell me what the pain FEELS like. Don’t just TELL me. I want to FEEL it myself. That’s half the point of writing, right? Anyone can TELL me something. I want you to SHOW me.

    Hellhounds…ah, see, more telling. Show me they are hellhounds, so I can figure it out on my own, and be like, OH, THEY’RE HELLHOUNDS!

    Your description in the next couple of lines is good. It’s simple, but because of it’s simplicity the prose stays as barbaric as the act it describes. My favourite part so far.

    Much of the rest of your story falls into the same pitfalls, and I hope I’ve made clear what they are. There is a tendency to TELL and not SHOW in a lot of writing, especially those still learning the craft (like me, too!)

    I hope my critique can help you out. You’ve obviously got a decent grasp on the art of storytelling, your narrative was gripping, and the twist was fantastic. The short lines at the end made the story complete.

    Keep up the writing, if you want any more critiques from me, just let me know. I come back periodically to check out the blogs I critique to see if there’s anything else I can comment on, but if you want some directly, or some help with something, you can contact me directly.

    Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello! Thanks a lot for this review! It made me really happy and I wanted to take the time to edit the story using your recommendations, but then I lacked the time and it eventually slipped my mind. Which is why I’m just noticing 9 months later that I never even so much as thanked you. ^^;

      I should try to review this story for Halloween 2017.

      Liked by 1 person

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