Monday, February 15, 2010

Entry 12

July 14, 1034, The Yucatan Peninsula

Balaam wasn’t expecting his world to fall apart that day. Of course, an apocalypse can put a dent in the best of plans.

As he passed under the sacred arch leading to the temple, the smell of carrion reached his nostrils. He wiped his face, as if to dispel the odor, and his hands came away covered with grime and sweat. His legs felt heavy moving up the weathered stone steps, and he knew it wasn't all due to fatigue from his twelve hour journey. The stench increased, his heart started beating faster, and he wondered if they were dead already. As he gazed into the central courtyard from the top step, he stopped wondering.

The bodies adorned the grassy space as if arranged with a purpose. Some were seated, some lay on their backs in a pose resembling sleep. But this was no siesta. Even from where he stood, he could tell they were dead. The signs of the great sickness were on them, the dried skin and shriveled flesh.

Balaam dropped to his knees, and his moan shattered the humid silence. The birds on the arch took to the sky.


  1. "siesta" felt out of place with "Baalam", but other than that, the set-up was clear.

  2. Hmmm... It's very deathly, I'll give you that, and I just don't know how I feel about it. Sensory overload. We walk right into a wall of terrible, and my first thought is, "Do I want more?" If this is the worst scene that the novel has to offer, then I've already seen it. If not, do I really want to see what comes next?

    What you've got is a horrible, steaming pile of dead bodies which (I can only imagine) would accurately describe the end of the world. But after being exposed to such delights as Dawn of the Dead, Terror Firmer, Bad Taste.. I find myself numb and unmotivated to continue.

    However, that having been said, your POV character seems to be having an unexpected reaction to all of this, which intrigues me. Perhaps if you hit the audience with a stronger dose of your unique take, the impact of the plague will be magnified.

    You give us birds, grass, a twelve-hour journey.. What if we get a dose of beauty and sweetness after a ribcage punch like the apocalyptic sentence, and just as we come to expect a nice, dewy rose and cute little baby birdies, BAMM! Putrefaction, stench and decay. ?

  3. I would just watch the language you use. It's suppose to be 1034 so I don't know that someone would use a phrase like a dent in their plans and siesta.

  4. Interesting choice for a name--Balaam, but I'm seeing a lot of telling in this passage that could be stronger with showing. Watch out for stall words like "began." Although it is well written and an interesting story, it doesn't hook me because the horrible event has already happened. Great use of smell to highten the readers image.

  5. I can see the picture you've described and I think you did that well. I would not read further, however, because it wouldn't appeal to me. It didn't hook me as something I would want to read further. Maybe because I didn't get the feeling of why he was devastated? What was his tie to the people he found?

  6. A bit too much graphics for me, but I did want to find out why? and who were these people?

    I agree "siesta" was out of place, but what word to use? Telling rather than showing, but an interesting beginning.

  7. My main comment echos MBee. Some of the language was too modern, although I liked the wry tone of the first sentence. I had to look up again to double check the date. Some good writing, though.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.