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by kennyp 

Posted: 28 March 2014
Word Count: 1506
Summary: First stab at a short story after completing short story writing course.

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Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.


Danny, Danny pick up, if you’re in pick up the phone. Do not come to the club tonight. “Implored the female voice, on Danny’s answering machine.  He had left his flat an hour ago to meet up with Femi and Peter.

“I’ll get this one in.” Danny said as he entered the bar along with Peter and Femi.

“What you guys having? “Danny asked.

“Pint of Krony geez.” Peter replied in a scouse accent.
“I’ll have a pint of coke.” Femi replied.

“Still on the wagon mate?” Danny asked.
“Yeah.” Femi replied.

“Grab a table in the beer garden I’ll bring the drinks over.” Danny said.

As Danny headed towards the beer garden with the tray of ordered drinks, the drinks were nearly knocked from the tray as Danny was bumped into by a muscular, tall, skin headed man of undetermined eastern European extraction.

“Watch where you going mate.” Danny said.

The man stared at Danny and laughed manically as he walked away. Danny noticed he had the word utarefson tattooed in gothic crypt on his neck. Danny stopped in thought for a second as he had seen that word somewhere else before.

Danny joined his friends at the rear of the beer garden. It was a November evening and the night held an unforgiving wintery chill. They were having a drink in a Weatherspoon pub, as life sapping an experience as you can imagine on any, let alone a Friday night.

The beer garden was populated by your usual Weatherspoon clientele; old men attracted by the £1.99 pints on offer; old Caribbean men wearing pork pie hats engaged in games of dominoes; groups of women from the nearby estate under dressed and out for sex; teenagers not yet the legal age to drink but allowed into the pub by the publican of questionable character, topped off by your barfly misanthropes, it was your usual Friday night theatre of the grotesque.

“You guys up for tonight then?”  Danny asked.

“Where is this place again?” Peter replied.

“I’ve got a flyer in my pocket.” Danny said

Danny handed the flyer to Peter. It read Utarefson a night to kill for! A night of all tastes.  No dress code required. Midnight surprise arrive early.

“Does it say what kind of music they’re going to be playing?” Femi asked.

“No.” Peter replied.

“It’s not too far from here walking distance.” Danny said.

Danny’s phone rang; he looked at the caller but didn’t answer.

“Who was that?” Femi asked.

“It’s from that barmaid I met last week, that’s where I got these flyers from."
“Is she Polish?” Peter asked.

“Romanian. This place is depressing me let’s make a move.” Danny replied.

The three men finished their drinks then left the bar to an eerily quiet high street.

“Where is everybody?” Peter asked.

Ahead of them at the end of the street there seemed to be some kind of commotion with two men attacking a man.
“Oi” Danny shouted. Danny and his friends ran to the aid of the attacked man who was now prostrate on the floor with his attackers fleeing down a side alley. Blood was pouring from a deep wound in his neck.

“What the fuck.” Shouted Peter.

Next to the prone man was the eviscerated carcass of a dog.

Danny walked to the edge of pavement and threw up. The three men’s’ shocked expression was broken by the noise of the sirens of the approaching police car and ambulance.

As the attacked man was taken into the back of the ambulance the policeman on the scene took down some statements from the three men.

“We’ve had a spate of copycat’s attacks this evening with people attacked with trauma wounds to the neck.” Said the policeman.

“Really?” Danny said.

“Yes.” Replied the policeman.

After giving the policemen their contact details the men left the scene.

“Well this is turning out to be an eventful night.” Peter said.

“The clubs off Church Street behind the industrial estate we can take a shortcut through the graveyard.” Danny said.

Near the entrance of the graveyard was a prostitute, she was striking because of her angular features. She was rake thin, her nose prominent and face drained of all colour. There was something unworldly about her. The men ignored her attempts for conversation and headed through the graveyard.

“I didn’t envisage my Friday night would include traipsing through a graveyard.” Femi said.

The three men chuckled at the comment. The tall tree’s which were along the pathway of the graveyard where shorn of leaves. A foggy mist had enveloped the night making it hard to see more than five yards ahead.

 The clickity click sound of high heel shoes could be heard from someone walking behind them.
“Who’s there?” Danny bellowed at the barely visible figure behind them.

The figure of the prostitute emerged from the mist and fixed the men with a piercing gaze as she walked by and disappeared into the foggy night ahead.

“Looks like you’ve found yourself an admirer there mate.” Danny said to Peter.

“Piss off.” Peter laughed.

 The men continued walking ahead in the dark. More footsteps could be heard behind them this time someone running accompanied by the sound of a chain jangling.

“Whose there?” Danny bellowed again.

The figure of a jogger emerged from the dark with a dog running beside on him his collar jangling in the night.

“Who goes jogging in the middle of the night?” asked Peter.

“The freaks are definitely all out tonight.” Femi said.

The men passed a graveyard mausoleum which had the legend utarefson graffiti across it.

“Who the fuck spray paints graffiti in graveyards?” asked Danny.

“It’s the sign of the times mate.” Peter replied.

A caw caw high pitched sound broke the silence of the graveyard as a flock of crows suddenly descended on top of the mausoleum.

“Where did all these crows come from?” Danny asked.

“Fuck knows lets.” Peter replied.

“What’s the time?” Danny asked.

“It’s twenty two.” Peter replied.

“If we jog it we should comfortably make it before twelve I’m curious to see what this midnight surprise at the club is.” Danny said.

The men broke out into a jog out of the graveyard on onto the industrial estate and to the entrance of the club.

Two crows descended from the sky and perched on the roof of the club followed by another and another until the roof was covered by half a dozen.

At the entrance of the club were 2 shaven headed bouncers.  Danny and his companions flashed the flyers at them which they scrutinised before waving them through.

A narrow staircase led down to the club.

“Looks pretty busy in here.” Danny said.

“It is.” Femi replied.

The room was filled with a cacophony of loud chatter and levity as they made their way through the crowd of people.
People were swaying rhythmically to the music arms and legs a whirl of motion, hypnotised and intoxicated by the music.

 “Crowd probably here for the midnight surprise whatever it is.” Peter said.

“Shame the music is so shit.” Danny said.

Loud industrial techno began to blare out from the speakers making it hard to be heard while the strobe lights began to flicker on and off making the figures in the club look like silhouettes.

A slim woman with a half cut top revealing her mid drift adorned with a gothic designed belly button piercing brushed past Danny provocatively, he felt the warm breath of her mouth as her lips caressed his neck before giving him a passionate love bite then disappeared into the crowd.

“Most be your aftershave mate.” Peter joked.

“Certainly not his winning personality.” Femi laughed.

“I think I might like it in here.” Danny said.

The friends made their way to the bar just as loud continuous chimes bellowed from the speakers to denote midnight.  
Danny caught the attention of the barman who came over. Behind the bar a sign of the club Utarefson was reflected backwards it read Nosferatu.

Time seem to stand still for a brief moment as Danny’s legs relaxed as if to give way.
The barman saw Danny was aware of the sign and lunged forward at him mouth open with two fangs protruding from his jaw.

Danny picked up a bottle of beer on the bar and smashed it over the barman’s head who fell backwards behind the bar.

Danny yelled out as he felt a searing pain in his neck, blood spurting from the wound onto his shirt, from the mirror in the bar he could make out the skin headed figure of the man he encountered in the Weatherspoon pub biting furiously into his neck.

As Danny fell backwards crashing onto the floor slowing losing consciousness Femi’s severed head rolled past him, he could also make out Peters feet amongst the crowd sprinting towards the emergency exit. Danny’s mobile phone fell from his pocket with a text message don’t come to the club tonight you will be killed.

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Comments by other Members

Becca at 13:06 on 28 March 2014  Report this post
Hi Kenny,
welcome to the group, I'll get to this story, interesting title, asap. Good to see you here!

tatterdemalion at 17:12 on 28 April 2014  Report this post
Hi Kenny :)

First of all, I'd like to acknowledge how brave you have been in submitting your very first story to the group and congratulate you on taking the first steps towards becoming a writer of short stories by attending a course on the subject. It is a great pity that no-one has taken the trouble to comment on it.

I have to start with quite a few negatives, I'm afraid. Your story is of a genre that doesn't 'float my boat', but nevertheless it is possible for me to analyse it to some extent and I hope the analysis will prove useful to you.

My overwhelming impression of your story is that it just isn't worked up into a proper story. It reads very much like a synopsis and needs fleshing out (no pun intended) to read like a piece of fully realised writing rather than an extended outline. What I mean is, it is kind of a list of events, jotted down almost in shorthand. None of the scenes are made visual or given any emotional depth at all.  But it's OK, it's your first attempt, and you are on a very steep learning curve.

Also, there are many irrelevancies, including bits of dialogue that serve no purpose in the telling of the story. For instance, the whole exchange about drinks at the beginning could be cut right down to Danny saying he'll get them in. What they're drinking and the fact that Femi is on the wagon is irrelevant to the story. Do you see what I mean? The next important bit is being knocked into by the skinhead. I should point out here that 'undetermined eastern European extraction' is irrelevant and distracting, and possibly leaning towards the racist! His attitude is more important than his race in this story.

Similarly, the Really? Yes. exchange with the policeman is not needed. Try to sharpen up your dialogue so that only the bits needed get through the edit.

Half a dozen crows cannot cover a roof. :)

No-one can scrutinise something that's been flashed in front of them. You must think about the logic of what you're writing.

Your comment about the type of pub they are drinking in is an authorial opinion, and should be kept out of your writing.

This sentence: 'A slim woman with a half cut top revealing her mid drift adorned with a gothic designed belly button piercing brushed past Danny provocatively' does not work because of the raft of description that is dumped into the middle of the sentence. Perhaps it would work better like this: 'A woman came towards him. She was slim and dark, and her cutaway top revealed a skull-and-crossbones shining in her navel. As she passed, he felt the push of her breasts against his arm.' It gives the information in bite-size (again, no pun intended!) pieces and in an order that doesn't irritate the reader who is trying to get at the point of the sentence. It also cuts out irrelevancies but does include specifics. 'Gothic designed' is too general, replacing it with a specific description (I chose skull-and-crossbones, you might prefer something else) gives something for the reader to latch onto and that helps the scene become visual for them. Also, the action of her pushing her breasts against him is another specific which is more interesting for the reader than the general 'brushed past . . . provocatively'. It's called 'show not tell', something you probably learned about in your course. If not, you will hear a lot about it on here! It's not always the right choice, but used well it can really bring your writing to life.

Your story needs much work, Kenny. I have only commented on some of its problems. I really suggest you join the Beginners writing group on WW and listen to what you're told there. I also would urge you to read quality writing in your chosen genre. It's helpful to read stories that you know are good and that you have read many times, that way you are no longer reading for the story and can look, instead, at how it works and how the writer has made it so effective.

I'm going to end on a more positive note. I have pulled one paragraph out which really struck me:

"The beer garden was populated by your usual Weatherspoon clientele; old men attracted by the £1.99 pints on offer; old Caribbean men wearing pork pie hats engaged in games of dominoes; groups of women from the nearby estate under dressed and out for sex; teenagers not yet the legal age to drink but allowed into the pub by the publican of questionable character, topped off by your barfly misanthropes, it was your usual Friday night theatre of the grotesque."

Yes, there is another anti-Weatherspoon comment, lol, and it still needs shaping but you have sharply observed the type of characters that hang out at this pub. Is it based on one you know personally? It does sound like first-hand observation well got down in words.

A long way to go, then, but please don't be disheartened by my comments, there are some good bits of observation and I like that the story begins and ends with phone messages, it gives the story a circularity that is potentially effective with some tweaking. You will certainly improve with time and practice. Writing is a bloody hard nut to crack!

All the best.

tatterdemalion at 11:48 on 02 May 2014  Report this post
Ah, lightbulb moment! The reference to the man's Eastern European appearance was supposed to suggest a Transylvanian connection, yes? OK, but, again, picking out a detail would convey this better.

But as you haven't come back, perhaps you've dismissed everything I had to say, anyway. Fair enough, it's your writing. :)

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