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  • The zeroin writers thread - NSFW.

    Ok all, as Im currently applying to do an MA in Prose fiction at several unis and trying to write my own novel, I figure a writing thread might be good if any other people are interested?

  • #2
    Re: The zeroin writers thread.

    Hey man, Ive been writing a book for ages, we could bounce bits off each other
    ... ill PM you a bit of mine
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    • #3
      Re: The zeroin writers thread.

      This is the opening chapter to my new book im writing. tell me what you think

      Prelude_-_
      The Night club was packed with the usual clubbers, packed in. Lads looking for girls, girls just having fun and the 30 something people trying to look cool and convincing themselves they are still young, then the underage clubbers, snuck in and staring around in awe.
      One man looked like any other, white shirt, faded jeans and a necklace hanging loosely from his neck. He was sitting at the bar, his hair plastered to his face from the raging elements outside. He started at the nightclub door, ignoring the others clubbers. He turned to bar, eyes flitting in his sockets. He ordered a drink and resumed the watch on the door. He looked at the other clubbers and took comfort in their pleasure, dancing oblivious to the certain doom that many may face. The DJ was good he noted, caught up in music like nothing else in the world mattered. The man’s head spun around as he heard a sharp crackle in his left ear. A crackled voice shouted to him above the crowd “zack, they... get out”. Zack nodded and he rose took a radio out of his pocket tapped the send button and replied “ok, get out”. Zack slipped the radio into his pocket reached down and plugged in a throat mike and donned it. He dropped the microphone and bent to pick it –Bang, zack jumped bolt upright and started to the source of the noise. The night club door had exploded and a gang of 3 men charged in. A scream rose from the people as the splinters from the door shredded those closest to it. The DJ, so caught up in his music hadn’t noticed as the crowd surged away from the 3 men. One of the three men pointed and shouted- they split up. One of the men taller than the others surged towards the bar shoving clubbers out the way and brutally lashing out at those who didn’t move. The man saw zack and shouted. The men as one charged towards zack, a gun shout cracked through the nightclub as the squad of 3 brought out AK-47s and slammed their fingers on the triggers aiming at zack. Zack looked up and jumped out of the bullets way, diving over the bar and pulling his own gun. The bullets tore into the crowd ripping people apart. The clubbers panicked as chaos reigned. The clubbers bolted for the remnants of the door crushing the writhing bodies of those beneath them making no recognition between friend and foe. Zack sensed an opening in the crowd and jumped over the bar and landed neatly facing the men. As one the men smiled and shouldered their guns and fired. Zack looked down and saw his necklace giving a faint green glow he smiled as the bullets tore into the wood around him darting towards him; they stopped short and dropped to the floor, the shells bouncing and rolling over the floor. At that moment the lights fused out. The night club plunged into darkness and zack blinked twice, his blindness replaced by a slight green tint. He looked up the night vision picking out the men whose eyes also were tinted green. Zack ducked as a bullet slashed past him. He focused and threw a bottle of vodka from the bar, and sent a fireball after it. The men screamed as they ducked. Zack at the last second had shut his eyes, but the hit squad hadn’t, temporally blinded they stumbled and fell. Zack ran over to a wall and sent a wave of energy into it– it exploded. Bricks and mortar skidded into the night. Zack jumped and slipped out of the wall. The rain crashed all around him as he rolled over onto his back. He blinked into the rain. Heard a crash behind him as the death squad ran out of the wall. He jumped up, groaned as he sent bricks into the path of his enemy. He ran blind into the alley and stumbled as he tried to make a barrier to stop the numerous bullets that streaked through the night towards him. The necklace, now glowing brighter and brighter suddenly dimmed, Zack’s magic had failed. Bullets tore into his back as he screamed a bullet tore into the back of his knee and shattered his knee cap. He fell and rolled to a stop, using his last of scraps of magic to cushion the fall.
      Sprawled on the ground zack tried to rise- but couldn’t, his strength leaving him, blood gathering around him. The droplets of water mixed with the blood forming a pool a metre around zack`s body. The rain lulled as zack heard footsteps near him; he shifted his head to the side squinting into the black night. Zack flinched as footsteps bounced off the walls around him, he shuddered.
      Zack wasn’t afraid of dying, without his magic he was useless unable to fight helpless to the squad after him. He slowly reached down into his pocket and fumbled for his radio. Clicked the send button and desperately shouted over the radio “shadow runners”. Zack gasped as a force picked him up and shoved him against the wall in the alley. His body screamed out as 3 men walked into the moonlight, confident but defiantly angry, their hair singed from the fire ball earlier. The stopped dangling a metre from the floor struggling against the magic that gripped him. The lead shadow runner walked purposely forward. Zack looked down as the man started to speak “ready to die scum?” zack grimaced. The shadow runner sniggered with delight. As he held up his arm to Zack`s face. The arm shifted into a metal blade. The light danced off the blade and reflected off Zack`s eyes.
      Zack concentrated trying to break the magical of force binding him a metre in the air. He jumped as a metallic scraping sounded inches from his throat. The shadow runner laughed and abruptly stopped, half turned to the others of his squad grinned a sick grin and lashed out with the blade.
      The blade thrashed into zack, burrowing itself into his chest, blood gushed over the blade and over zack’s sodden jeans, dripping off his shoes and into the puddle below him. Zack screamed out as the blade ripped apart his organs and snapped his ribcage and then the blade withdrew. The shadow runner held the blade up to the light as zack lifted his head to see blood running down the shadow runners arm. Zack hung his head as his insides screamed; the blade glinted as it slashed down. Blood exploded from Zack`s neck, spurting out in short bursts. Zack`s head snapped up, gazing up to the starless sky. As zack looked back down, he noticed the shadow runner had brought out a gun, zack looked on losing strength, his eyes fluttered, the shadow runner brought the gun level with Zack`s head and fired. The bullet leapt out the gun and slammed into Zack`s face destroying the last essence of life. The shadow runners turned and walked into the darkness as the sky tinged pink with the coming morning. As the Dark Stalkers only hope, slid down the wall, lifeless, unaware of the sirens coming to him or the state of his team.
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      • #4
        Re: The zeroin writers thread.

        can give info on book if interested. this is all my own work, written by me and im 18 tell me honestly what you think
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        • #5
          Re: The zeroin writers thread.

          any thoughts any one?
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          • #6
            Re: The zeroin writers thread.

            Wolf, you have Zack's name all over the place in that passage, cut it down to a nickname, like the unaware boy, young lad or something. Break up the wall of text, put it into paragraphs. Very good, looking forward to more!

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            • #7
              Re: The zeroin writers thread.

              brilliant cheers..

              can give more info on book if needed
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              • #8
                Re: The zeroin writers thread.

                Reading yours now mate, how brutal do you want me to be If you pm me your email Ill happily edit yours with some suggestions if you want.

                Quick impressions, as marksman says you need to work on your paragraphing but you've also almost completely ignored commas. Try reading your work out loud. Where you pause for breath in the sentence, put a comma in Otherwise theres some semi colons missing and your tenses get a bit mixed up sometimes. Try to use 'zack' and 'the three men' as little as possible. Less is more, especially in action scenes, and the frequent repetition of Zack does ruin the flow.

                Otherwise, I like it! You've got a couple of nice images; hurling the bottle of vodka with the fireball (though Ive been unsuccessful in my attempts to light vodka, might want to make it sambuca or something like that?), slamming on the triggers. If you nail the structure and grammar (which is the hardest part of writing) youve obviously got a rich fantasy world to flesh out your story with. Ill mail you a more indepth list of advice and feedback in a bit

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                • #9
                  Re: The zeroin writers thread.

                  [email protected]

                  for feedback
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                  • #10
                    Re: The zeroin writers thread.

                    The following contains violence, swearing and drugs references. I cant indent on the forums so the formattings a bit f*cked up but read on...

                    Prologue.

                    Detective Remy Harris found the body easily enough. The Michigan Heights projects were lit by the flashing red and blue lights of a trio of squad cars, parked around a blanket-covered something oozing blood into the snow. By the time he pulled up he was already freezing; the damn heater had broken down a block back. Cursing, he got out of the car and pushed his hands deep in the pockets of his heavy down jacket, fumbling for his cigarettes.
                    Sparking one up he crossed to the nearest uniform, flashed his shield.
                    ‘All yours, Detective,’ the young cop muttered from behind a thick balaclava. The usual Denton City PD protective gear didn’t cut it in the winter so riot helmets were ditched in favour of Russian hats and balaclavas, with privately-purchased coldgear jackets bulging beneath their body armour.
                    Harris nodded and crossed to the corpse, past a couple of other disinterested police. Homeless mingled with rubberneckers, both gawking from the opposite side of the street but staying put, unwilling to test the pair of troopers packing shock sticks at the crime tape.
                    He crouched down, lifted the blanket and took a long drag on the Marlboro as he absorbed the details. From the pulped ruin of the head and shoulders he judged the kid had fallen from at least six stories up, presumably from the rooftop. The green trousers and sweatshirt, now dark with blood and torn by broken bones, indicated that until he’d taken flight the kid had been a Wharfie ganger. Remy could see parts of a smashed pistol embedded in the mess where his stomach should have been; he hadn’t had time to draw, so had probably known his killers. It looked like the Wharfies were cleaning house.
                    ‘Any witnesses?’ he asked no-one in particular, not really expecting a positive answer.
                    ‘No, but we grabbed two Wharfie scumbags who were near the body when security came outside,’ replied a nearby uniform named Gant, who was unrolling a body bag. He jabbed a thumb over to the steps of the project, where two green-clad teenagers in dime store bling were shivering in stress positions. A trooper with a shotgun stood guard. The younger one had his head down, shaking with more than just the cold. The other was bulky with muscle, covered in gang tats, his chest bare. He stared defiantly at the police despite purple lips.
                    ‘Local personalities?’ Remy asked.
                    ‘Nah,’ Gant shook his head as he regarded the corpse, clearly wishing he had a shovel.
                    ‘Both’ve got minor assault and possession priors. Jeremy Ryan, 19, had an ancient .357 on him and half of Columbia in his pockets. Mack Guthrie, 16... he just had a flick knife and half a quart of spirits.’
                    ‘They know the human stain here?’
                    ‘If they do they’re not saying shit. Probably think we’ll think they pushed him off the roof. 'Probably right.’
                    ‘Not a chance- they shove him off six floors up and then get downstairs and out the front door in time for security to pick them up next to the body?’ Harris snorted. ‘Makes no sense and they’re not fucking Olympians. I’ll go talk to them.
                    He stamped his way over to the pair under the sullen gaze of the older boy.
                    ‘Either of you two feel like talking?’ he asked, taking another lungful of nicotine.
                    ‘Fuck you, suit,’ Ryan spat in the dirt. Guthrie just shivered.
                    ‘Come on,’ Remy sighed. ‘You must know who that puddle over there was. You know we’re gonna find out too. Save me a week and tell me his name and who waxed him.’
                    ‘Got nothing to say’, the bruiser growled. ‘You won’t find out shit.’
                    Guthrie burst into tears. Remy cursed under his breath.
                    ‘Fine… fuck it, I’m out of here,’ he growled.
                    He turned away, walking back to his car.
                    ‘Toss Guthrie back in the sewer he crawled out of and book Ryan for the unlicensed firearm and possession with intent,’ he told Gant as he passed. ‘I’ll write this up in the car and then I’m going home. If the roadkill’s family or friends show up to ID him before the morgue get around to fingerprinting him sometime next week, give me a call.’
                    The detective looked up at the silhouetted projects. Most of the apartments were dark- due to the fuel shortage since the war started, but orange fireflies speckled each floor from the dozens of watchers who’d lit up while they watched the cops’ futile little dance.
                    Almost a hundred people watching him standing over a corpse, and no-one would ever say a damn thing. Just another body in Slaughter City.
                    Taking another drag he flicked away the butt and threw the voyeurs the finger before retreating into the relative shelter of the car.



                    Chapter One.

                    Jez ran a finger round the inside of his once-stiff shirt collar; the starched and ironed battledress uniform was already sweat-stained and crumpled after the long flight in coach the previous day, but now he started sweating afresh. He’d slept off the time difference in a cramped coffin in the airport motel but he felt rough after a breakfast of minibar and uppers.
                    The Denton City summer was almost alien to him now after five years on deployment- the mountains were cold nine months of the year and baking hot and dry the remaining three, but he’d forgotten the humidity back home. The heavy, damp July heat rolled off Lake Michigan and got trapped by the dirty brick and concrete canyons of the streets, turning the inner city into a giant radiator.
                    Around him on the wide pavement outside the arrivals gate a tide of suits parted briefly around him before flowing onwards towards the long stay parking lot. No-one made eye contact; the war in the far east, like so many before it, had gone on long enough for the American public to follow tradition and lose their spine, pretending like it didn’t exist. Like the soldiers fighting it didn’t exist. Jez remembered the flag waving and the music they’d laid on here when he shipped out six years before in the winter of ‘29, and that was even after the war had been going on for five years. Times had changed.
                    He squinted through the five dollar rip-off Oakley sunglasses he’d picked up on the connection in Seoul, taking in the changes to the skyline since he’d been away. The smog was dyed red by the evening sun, and through his tinted orange shades it made the sprawling towers looming out of the clouds of pollution seem hellish. In the silhouette he could make out almost the whole nine circles. At one end of the spectrum big businesses stood tall in edifices of mirrored glass and steel.
                    Hotels in the richer parts of town were a similar size, but leaned towards more traditional red brick architecture in design. Then, out on the fringe mixed in amongst the towering factories belching flame and smoke, the hab blocks and tenement buildings reached up to the sky through the polluted air like a thousand broken fingers.
                    Neon advertisements for everything from medication to people carriers covered almost every available square metre. The city was trying to hide the ugly truth behind layers of garish light, like an aging hooker piling on the slap. That was where the bulk of the city’s population still clung to existence; the poor, the homeless and the criminal. They were rammed into the overcrowded slums built over most of the old meat-packing districts. That was where his mother had raised him and his sister, in a tiny three room apartment in a dirty brick tenement that had been the wrong side of decrepit ten years ago. Home sweet home.
                    It took him three tries to hail a taxi, the first two rolling straight past him to pick up better paying suits. Then a battered Ford pulled up to the kerb and a heavyset guy leaned out the window.
                    ‘Hop in, brother,’ he said in a deep voice, a hint of New York in his accent. ‘Throw your shit in the back.’
                    Jez nodded his thanks, picked up his heavy kit bag and took it round to the rear of the cab where the driver had popped the trunk to put it inside.
                    Crossing back to the right passenger door he got in, noted the heavy transparent layer of bullet-proof Perspex that separated the driver from the passenger. The partition below it no doubt was filled with Kevlar, maybe even some ceramic or steel trauma plates. ‘Jack proof. A Ruger KP94 hung in a leather holster from the dash, a crucifix dangling on a short length of rosary beads from the lanyard bolt on the back of the butt.
                    ‘Where to, ranger?’ the driver asked. ‘Fresh out the mountains?’
                    ‘Is it that obvious?’ Jez chuckled, looking down at the green-grey battledress he wore, feeling the bulge of his service firearm in the small of his back. ‘2472 Gustavo Road, South Denton. That ok?’
                    ‘The Charnel Mile, huh?’ the cabbie asked, looking at Jez in the rear view. 'Local boy?'
                    'Yeah,' Jez nodded, looking out the window at the approaching city as the taxi pulled out. 'South East Slaughter, born and bred. You?'
                    A couple of decades back some joker on a city paper had connected the slums’ meat-packing history with its abnormally high murder rate and christened it ‘Slaughter City’. The name had stuck.
                    'No disrespect, but my daddy moved us out of that shithole when I was three years old,' the driver replied, keeping the conversation running while never taking his eyes off the road. 'Got a promotion, dodged the big lay-offs.'
                    Jez sighed, remembering his father coming home jobless, drunk and angry every night for ten years before eating a bullet. He’d found the man’s body on the battered couch, his head decorating the wall above it.
                    'No disrespect,' he muttered, 'But your dad was one of the lucky ones.'
                    The cab driver looked back at him in the mirror again, realising his mistake.
                    'Sorry, man, didn’t mean anything by it,' he apologized as they pulled onto the freeway on-ramp. The electric engine whined softly as he accelerated up to seventy miles an hour. The city started to rise up on either side of them, streets of wooden-fronted blue-collar homes with the occasional strip mall passing by under the raised road.
                    'It’s cool,' Jez replied. 'So, you pegged me as a ranger straight away; you serve?'
                    'Five years, first recon,' the man nodded, relieved at the change of subject. 'Took some shrapnel in the chest in Islamabad in ‘26, discharged, back here to my cousin’s cab firm. Go figure.'
                    'You got out at the right time then,' Jez said wryly. 'Before war got unfashionable.’
                    The cabbie laughed.
                    ‘At least we get citizenship out of it, huh?’
                    'My mother isn’t a citizen, neither’s my sister,’ Jez replied. ‘My Dad’s family had citizenship, but then he went and blew his fucking head off and screwed us. Until I can sort the paperwork my mom and sister can’t even move into a better neighbourhood.'
                    'You should talk to this guy,' the cabbie replied, fumbling on top of the dashboard before he found a stack of business cards held together with an elastic band, passing one back through to Jez. 'My wife’s cousin, he’s a lawyer works out of the Latin quarter. For a legal aid, he’s pretty damn good so if your daddy had citizenship and you’ve got it, he might be able to do something for you.'
                    Jez looked at the simple white card, with ‘Julio Barnes, Legal Aid’ printed above an address and phone number. Had to be worth a shot at least.
                    'Thanks, man, appreciate it,' he said. He looked out the window as the car slowed down. They’d left the industrial estate behind and were approaching the outskirts of Slaughter City through a hundred yard band of bare wasteland, the twenty-foot perimeter wall stretching into the distance from both sides of the police checkpoint. Two squat concrete towers painted blue and white stood either side of a lifting barrier across the road on the ways in and out. A line of blue and white armoured Chevy suburbans were parked on the right side of the entrance; on the left was a large open stretch of tarmac where police were searching vehicles.
                    ‘Slaughter’s locked down tight right now,’ the driver warned. ‘Just flash your papers and you’ll be ok.’
                    'It’s got worse,' Jez agreed as they drew closer to the wall. Graffiti turned the barrier into a multicoloured mess for the bottom six feet or so before tapering off into grey concrete. Jez was amazed that anyone actually cared enough to come across town to paint on a wall.
                    'Perimeter was raised five feet last year too,' the cabbie said as he followed a flak-jacketed police officer’s directions into the searching area. 'They put fifty-longs in the towers, electrified the razor wire on the top, all sorts.'
                    'They give a reason?' Jez asked as he straightened his uniform, removing his Oakleys.
                    The cab driver laughed.
                    'The fuck they need one of those for?' he chuckled. 'They’re the police.'
                    As the cab drew to a stop, Jez unlocked the door and opened it, stepping out. Two cops walked over, one carrying a palmtop computer and the other a long tapered sensor wand. They were both wearing dark blue helmets with tinted full-face visors and the Denton City PD crest on the forehead, and matching body armour vests with police flashes front and back. The younger one with the palmtop Jez guessed was a rookie; his armour still had the shoulder neck and groin protectors attached.
                    The pigs were rolling heavier armed than they had five years ago; FN five-seven pistols in holsters buckled under their left arms, Heckler & Koch submachine-guns strapped to their right thighs. Rows of ammo pouches were hung on the stomach of their armour in addition to the usual police clutter on their belts. Under their vests they were both dressed in pale blue short-sleeved polo shirts and navy uniform pants with gold stripes up the legs.
                    'Step out of the car please,' the one with the wand asked. 'Routine inspection, nothin’ to worry about.'
                    The cabbie got out. Jez was surprised how quickly the big guy could move considering his size; he slid out of the car, pulling a roll-up from behind one ear and sitting up on the bonnet in one fluid motion. He nodded to the cops, a knowing sneer on his face as he lit up.
                    'Costanza… got a new fish I see,' he asked the older officer. 'Rourke off sick?'
                    The cop turned his blank faceplate, cocking his head on one side.
                    'Grayson.' he growled. 'Rourke got shanked outside his place on Villa park. Bled out on his doorstep.'
                    'Sorry to hear that,' Grayson replied, blowing blue smoke out through his nostrils. 'Had a wife, didn’t he?'
                    'Don’t act like you give a fuck,' Costanza spat before turning to Jez. 'Step towards me please sir, arms and legs apart. You carrying any weapons, narcotics, contraband?'
                    Jez obeyed the order, standing loosely at ease with his arms held out from his sides.
                    'Service five-seven in a pancake holster on my back, Gerber on my right hip.'
                    Costanza nodded.
                    'That’s fine. Name and unit?'
                    'Sergeant Jeremy Ryan, 3rd Ranger battalion. My citizenship papers, passport and ID are in my left chest pocket.'
                    'Eddie, run it,' the cop ordered his partner as he gave Jez a quick buzz with the wand. It beeped when it passed over his gun and the knife sheathed on his belt.
                    The rookie typed the details into the palmtop. It squealed angrily.
                    'Priors?' Costanza asked. Eddie nodded, showing him the screen.
                    Grayson chuckled.
                    'No-one’s clean nowadays, are they,' he winked at Jez. 'Makes you despair of humanity don’t it?'
                    'It’s nothing,' Jez muttered.
                    'Possession of an unlicensed firearm, possession of drugs with intent to supply, assault, breaking and entering… not exactly nothing,' Costanza commented. 'Gang-Reg’s got quite the jacket on you. Joined up to dodge a second strike huh?'
                    'I’ve done my service,' Jez shot back. 'I don’t have to explain anything to you. My citizenship papers and gun permit are both kosher, so back the fuck off.'
                    Costanza took a step forward and put a hand on the hilt of his baton.
                    'Lose the attitude, shitbird,' he growled. 'I don’t care how many medals you got out in skullfuck, nowhere, you’re back in the Slaughter now and you’re still just another gutter gangster one strike away from a twenty stretch.'
                    Jez’s jaw clenched and he balled his fists. He took a step towards the cop. The rookie almost dropped the palmtop, fumbling at his pistol holster. Costanza just stood there, his visor blank.
                    'C’mon man,' Grayson intervened, flicking his half smoked cigarette away. 'Let’s all chill out here. People change, why not give him the benefit of the doubt? Man hasn’t been back on home soil for half a decade.'
                    Jez didn’t say anything, but kept staring at the cop. The cab driver appealed to the rookie.
                    'Does he have any current warrants? He raise any red flags on that thing?'
                    The rook started, looked round.
                    'No, there’s nothing outstanding,' he stammered.
                    Costanza turned to give his new partner a hard look. Jez didn’t budge.
                    'See?' Grayson said. 'You’ve got no reason to hold him here. Let’s all just get on with our day, ok?'
                    Costanza hesitated, then took his hand off the baton.
                    'All right,' he muttered. 'Get outta here… but I’m warning you Ryan, if you screw up again the DCPD is gonna come down on your ass so hard we’ll be scraping your shit off the sidewalk. I guaran-fucking-tee it.'
                    'Thanks for the friendly warning officer,' Jez deadpanned.
                    Costanza snorted in disgust and turned away, motioning for his partner to follow him. Jez remained motionless as they walked off towards another approaching vehicle. His eyelid twitched as he imagined drawing his pistol and putting two through the cop’s back and one through his helmet, but Grayson put a hand on his shoulder. He snapped out of it.
                    'You ok?' the driver asked kindly.
                    'I’m fine,' Jez replied shortly. 'Ain’t nothing changed here.'
                    'Costanza’s a brutal son of a bitch at the best of times,' Grayson explained as he got back in the car, 'but he’s been partners with Rourke for a few years. Guess now he has to be enough of an asshole for both of them.'
                    'You know him?' Jez asked as he closed the door.
                    'They tried rousting me a few times, harassing my customers, searching my shit because I wasn‘t part of the bigger cab firms,' Grayson shrugged as he started the engine, heading back to the gate. 'I called Julio in the end and he got them cautioned ‘on suspicion of extortion’. Costanza used to be a sergeant you know…'
                    Jez raised an eyebrow. If you fitted yourself for a snitch jacket in the Slaughter you might as well put a gun to your head and pull the trigger. Especially if you snitched on a cop.
                    'Ratting on the pigs’ a fuckin’ risk isn’t it?' he asked.
                    'I know enough people.' Grayson chuckled as he pulled up the gate. 'Cab drivers are like priests; killing one is considered very… rude.'
                    They passed between the guard towers, black-suited snipers with long- fifty rifles watching them all the way. The blue and white-striped barriers lifted, more cops in black waving them past. Then they were through, into another short stretch of wasteland that gave way to mouldering wood shacks and towering brick tenements. They were in Slaughter City.


                    Chapter Two

                    As they pulled away from the checkpoint the cabbie fired up the mp4 player in the dashboard, filling the taxi with a vintage Kanye track that was older than Jez was. Bass vibrated against his back, and he relaxed as the dirty buildings rose up on both sides of the street, throngs of people appearing from nowhere and surrounding the car.
                    With the price of gas the way it was there were far fewer cars on the streets of Slaughter than Jez remembered, but the streets were still clogged. The affluent areas of Denton were wired for electric cars, but the fuel shortage had kicked transport back a hundred years in the slums. Public trams trundled both ways down the centre of the road and rickshaw cabs pulled by muscular teens in sports kit zipped through the crowds of pedestrians, while street traders hawked greasy ethnic food, knock-off designer clothes and bootleg electronics from handcarts and wheelbarrows. A petrol-powered police Suburban growled past, chivvying slower civilians out the way with warning blips on the siren.
                    Jez wound the window down, absorbing the energy around him with a nostalgic smile on his face. The smell of Asian cooking mingled with the stink of drains, deafening music thumped from the windows of souped-up crackmobiles parked down alleys, and a dozen different languages mated in the air to form a completely unintelligible mess. He was home.
                    As they turned onto Gustavo road, the long main street that ran the length of Slaughter City, he started counting the gang territories they passed through. Every few blocks they’d cross the invisible borders drawn at corners, tenement boundaries and under the monorail, and watch the race, wealth and clothing worn by the young men and women on the sidewalk transform in an instant.
                    The first territory they passed through was decked out in the yellow and purple of the Sunshine Corner Boys; the massive pan-Asiatic gang that many would say beat the DCPD to the title of the most powerful force in Slaughter City. Their turf was around Feng’s Market and their tenements- the infamous Sunshine Corner Projects- but outcrops jutted out in all directions into neighbourhoods of other ethnicities, where many smaller housing projects and private businesses welcomed the protection of the community-minded Asians.
                    ‘The Sunshine state’s booming,’ Jez observed dryly. ‘Good to see the police ain’t bothered about a gang as long as no-one’s getting smoked.’
                    ‘Hell, you weren’t around before Feng united the Asians,’ Grayson replied, shaking his head. ‘Shit was crazy, man. You had Chinese killing Japs, Vietnamese killing Koreans, Filipinos getting killed by everyone… Feng got everyone living in harmony. Cops love ‘em because they don’t have to clean corpses up off the sidewalk. I’d rather live round here than any other place in Slaughter.’
                    ‘You’d stick out a bit,’ Jez chuckled. The cabbie laughed.
                    They passed a burnt-out car by the side of the road and fell silent. The territory on Gustavo bordering the Boys’ empire past the Happy Buffalo bar had been dubbed ‘Crackland’ since before Jez was born, and was ruled by a mongrel gang of varying race named the 39ers. They rolled decked out in black and gold and were mean as dogs; their territory was a wasteland compared to the bustle of the Boys’ ground as anyone who was able left as soon as they could. Even for the Slaughter, Crackland was an unhealthily dangerous place to live; its residents were divided mainly into dealers and junkies, with the few innocents too poor or unfortunate to escape caught in the middle.
                    ‘If you’re wondering ‘bout whether the 39ers got better or worse, they got fuckin’ worse,’ Grayson muttered back, unfastening the strap on his pistol holster. ‘They shot up a goddamn courtroom in downtown Denton a couple of years back, killed an assistant DA and a judge. Gang-Reg stamped on their whole operation and shot half their high command dead when they allegedly tried to escape custody. They’ve been quieter since, but a new cat fresh off the corner name of ‘Jaws’ is making noise about resurrecting the old warbands. If he does I’d stay far the fuck away from this neck of the woods.’
                    When Jez was young, an elderly neighbour who worked with his mother had been shot on the steps of their tenement by a 39er gunman in an initiation murder. He could remember his ma coming in late, covered in blood after she’d tried to drag Mrs Ogilvy to safety, and he’d listened to her crying all night. According to scuttlebutt a beat cop named Harris had found the 39er responsible and put a bullet through his spine, paralyzing the kid in time for the gas chamber. Fucked up thing was the tale had been memorable not for the murder, but for the fact they’d actually caught the guy.
                    ‘Fuck ‘em,’ he said. ‘Police could line ‘em all up against a wall and shoot them tonight and I wouldn’t give a shit. They’re animals, the whole lotta them. They hook kids on crack, give ‘em guns and send ‘em out to shoot at the pigs for laughs.’
                    ‘Amen’, Grayson replied.
                    They approached a queue of angrily honking vehicles. A garbage truck had somehow jack-knifed across the street, its stinking contents spilt out the back over the pavement and into the doorway of a dive bar. Four 39ers in gold b-ball shirts were shouting abuse at the garbage men, and the garbage men were shouting back- made braver by the presence of three squad cars of police trying to sort out the situation. Grayson took a right to avoid the traffic, running parallel to the long low set of apartments known as the Sheep Pens. Russian territory.
                    ‘The pens look like they’re fallin’ apart even worse than they did,’ Jez muttered. ‘Haven’t they fixed that up yet?’
                    ‘City council’s got more to worry about than a bunch of illegal Ivans who don’t vote or pay taxes,’ Grayson replied.
                    ‘Nothing changes.’
                    The cabbie slowed down, letting an old man on a bicycle overtake him, and looked back over his shoulder.
                    ‘So why do you stay man? Why you so happy to come back to this shit?’
                    Jez said nothing, watching the slum pass by.

                    -*-

                    The cab dropped him off in front of Michigan Heights and he flipped the cab driver five extra for the tip about the lawyer. He looked around, soaking up the sight of the three towering buildings that, until the army, had been the only home he’d ever known. It had hardly changed. The squat wider block in the centre, tenement A, housed an enclosed strip mall, laundries, bars and a few tawdry shops on its lower levels; the taller buildings flanking it, B and C, were residential only. A wide staircase rose up to all three on all sides like an amphitheatre from a central courtyard by the road.
                    He hoisted his kit bag on his back, starting up the wide concrete steps to C. Some kids in Wharfie emerald were playing basketball between the battered old hoops on one side of the courtyard, and some slightly older teenagers- low level gang soldiers- heckled at him from their parked up pimped green gas guzzlers as he walked away. Loud speedrap thumped from their boots filled with speakers. He didn’t recognize any of the punks but then he didn’t expect to- seven years was a long time on the street, and anyone he’d known at that level from back in the day would be dead or promoted to a position higher up the ladder.
                    Inside the lobby of C it was cooler, aging tile walls covered in multiple layers of gang graffiti. The strip lights flickered in the ceiling behind reinforced Perspex, throwing a strobe effect across the junkie twitching in the corner. He could hear a dozen different bass beats working their way through the walls and ceiling. In the security booth a tired looking middle-aged woman with red hair gave him the once over then returned to reading an eBook.
                    He pressed the first elevator call button, chuckled when the shorted wiring dipped the lights for a second. Seven years and it still wasn’t fixed. He went for the second one, waited for it to arrive. A couple of elderly women he didn’t recognize came out a side corridor into the lobby and shuffled towards the front doors, ignoring him. One was singing along to a faintly familiar rock song on iComm headphones… ‘Break on through’.
                    The elevator arrived, opening to a familiar stench of stale urine and sweat. Used needles mostly stamped into glass splinters lay on the floor next to melted plastic spoons and scorched tin foil. He stepped over a used condom, spitting to the side in disgust. He punched the button for the twelfth floor, felt creaking movement in the floor and the dropping feeling in the pit of his stomach. The wrecked speaker that now hung out of the wall on a thread of gutted wire had played synthesized versions of old Beyoncé tracks; by the buckshot scars he guessed someone had taken a shotgun to it.
                    He arrived at twelve with a shuddering bump, the elevator jerking and leaping the last couple of feet. He made a mental note to take the stairs next time, and hurriedly stepped out as soon as the pitted doors slid back. The twelfth was cleaner than the lobby and the lift, the lights working. Faded neighbourhood watch posters were stuck to the wall next to flyers for live bands in one of the projects’ bars. A rush of nostalgia hit him and he choked up, pausing. As a child he’d played in this corridor. As a teenager he’d lost his virginity to Sandy Finn on the fire escape around the far corner.
                    Each step he took along the peeling plastic floor tiles felt familiar. He knew each crack, knew the names of the people behind every door he passed. He reached out and trailed his fingers along the rough concrete wall, counting the doorways off as he used to do when he came back drunk as a kid. Five… six… seven… eight…
                    He stopped by the ninth door on the left. It was painted blue, with evidence that some green graffiti had been roughly scrubbed off. He could see from the thumbprint lock that some of the paycheques he’d sent home had gone on an upgraded security system and he smiled as he remembered the dozen deadbolts and the heavy cross beam his dad had set up when he was small. He’d pretended he lived in a castle.
                    Almost hesitantly he raised his hand, rapping sharply three times. He felt tears come to his eyes and looked quickly up and down the corridor to make sure no-one saw as he wiped them away. He heard a muffled voice come from inside, the sounds of movement within. A soft electronic beeping, the sound of locks sliding back, and the blue door swung open revealing a small, heavyset woman in dirty white overalls and steely blond hair in curlers. Her brown eyes widened and blurred as she looked up at him and he felt tears spilling down his cheeks. Seven years was suddenly such a very long time.
                    ‘Hello mum,’ he said with a sob, and sank into her open arms.

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                    • #11
                      Re: The zeroin writers thread.

                      I missed the edit window but would appreciate feedback by PM.

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                      • #12
                        Re: The zeroin writers thread.

                        just read the prologue, needs space between paragraphs, so its easier for the reader.

                        Other than that its brilliant Dave! - Very vivid and descriptive piece of work you have there, will continue to read on, love the choice of words.

                        I assume the city is actually called slaugter city? - Sounds a bit iffy, perhaps Ripper street/city -just to give you an idea, relate to other stories in choice of names.

                        the damn heater had broken down a block back
                        Now, in the eyes of the narrator 'damn heater' doesn't sound right to the reader, or at least myself. Maybe if Remy said it, it may work. - Word it differently in the eyes of the narrator.

                        Opinions don't count as the story teller, unless of course you're telling the story as the main character, but obviously not.
                        Last edited by TheLazyMarksman; 2 May, 2010, 02:33. Reason: Adding a suggestion and some.

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                        • #13
                          Re: The zeroin writers thread.

                          I have never written a novel but I have written poetry which has been published in a hard back book in America. I would love to get into novel writing, or at least short story writing. I have always had an active imagination that would thrive on paper.

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                          • #14
                            Re: The zeroin writers thread.

                            The smog was dyed red by the evening sun, and through his tinted orange shades it made the sprawling towers looming out of the clouds of pollution seem hellish.
                            ********
                            It took him three tries to hail a taxi, the first two rolling straight past him to pick up better paying suits. Then a battered Ford pulled up to the kerb and a heavyset guy leaned out the window.
                            ‘Hop in, brother,’ he said in a deep voice, a hint of New York in his accent. ‘Throw your shit in the back.’
                            Your words Dave, I will repeat are vivid! :D - I like it, a lot.

                            However, don't go into that much detail about the surroundings, seems like a knife in the back to the actual storyline.

                            Edit - Ah yes, about slaughter city... I now see why.

                            Oh, to remind you that you may have readers from other nationalities, so they won't understand what a 'cabbie' is for example.

                            Would you do a little definition list either at the end or start of the book? - Would be great!
                            Last edited by TheLazyMarksman; 2 May, 2010, 02:46.

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                            • #15
                              Re: The zeroin writers thread.

                              Ack. Missed the edit button.

                              The pigs were rolling heavier armed than they had five years ago; FN five-seven pistols in holsters buckled under their left arms, Heckler & Koch submachine-guns strapped to their right thighs. Rows of ammo pouches were hung on the stomach of their armour in addition to the usual police clutter on their belts. Under their vests they were both dressed in pale blue short-sleeved polo shirts and navy uniform pants with gold stripes up the legs.
                              Now Dave, I cannot make out who is actually telling the story - simply calling the police 'the pigs' already shows thats a nickname as some say, or an American slang word for the police, don't use that as a narrator, again unless of course you're telling the story through the eyes of the character.

                              *EDIT - Moving on, again, very vivid I could picture what they would look like. - However, officers don't use high calibre weapons, stick to 9mm. A Browning High-Power would fulfill the role, or a Sig - depends what country the story is based in.

                              Finished chapter 1, this made me want to read on. Lovely jubley! :D - I would buy your novel once its finished, probably the best thing I've read, you've got talent. Your novel reminds me of CI5, hardmen and everything. Looking forward to fight scenes.
                              Last edited by TheLazyMarksman; 2 May, 2010, 03:02.

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