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Class Project - Started by: redhusky
Class Project
Posted: 27 Jan 2008, 09:27 AM
This post has been edited 3 times. Last edit on 27 Jan 2008, 09:41 AM.
    This is from a creative storywriting class that I'd like your thoughts on. Plus this section needs more stories! It's a big one so you might want to fire up a text reader. I recommend ReadPlease. It's FREE! X3 Oh and does any know the S7 forum code for paragraph breaks? You may have noticed all the extra separations but it's to make it easier on you until I can figure it out.
A few words.... Leo could be described by many names: selfish, shady, egocentric, womanizing, but good at what he does is at the top of that list. The era in which Leo lives is a dangerous time to be alive with mob bosses running the land, crime and drugs at an all time high, and you’re lucky to have a job that will keep food on the table. But of course for Leo finding work at a time like this is no problem. Leo is a fixer, if someone had a problem he “fixed” it and with the mob fighting over turf there was always something that needed fixing. But for one tired old wise guy has finally realized that the world he helped to build was no place for his granddaughter and so he called upon Leo’s services to help take her to a safer place to live far from the vices he left for her there.
This story is one I worked on in one of my earlier writing classes as a game script. It takes place in a setting that resembles the prohibition era with some fantasy elements. Most characters are talking animals like the kind you’d find in a Redwall or Richard Scarry book. Leo himself is a fox. Although Leo would be considered quite the hoodlum he still maintains a strong, if not inconsistent, sense of honor; his way of balancing out things. He would be just another pawn in the ongoing tug of war between mobs bosses if he wasn’t so skilled in his craft. His expertise catches the eye of a certain long time client who has a special job for him. He wants him to take his granddaughter far from the city he helped to corrupt to live a clean life. It seems like an easy task at first glance but he’ll soon realize that not everything is what it seems.
And now, on with the show.
Gunfire, smog, and vice is all that the town had ever known. Some places can at least boast about more peaceful times of doors remaining unlocked at night and the neighbors getting along, but for a place with no roots there was never a time. The town was a place with no name; it was merely a destination on the map comprised of roads-less-traveled and places never meant to be found. In fact, some maps don’t even have it marked, at least the maps that decent folk would carry. Although it had all the things one would expect a town to have like a firehouse, homes, and a mayor it was still just a hobbled together mass of slums, poorly maintained factories, and seedy businesses at least for the time being. “Cold…” Oades mumbled to himself. His old body was not the fine piece of fortitude that it had once been in his prime. Claude, his butler, quickly covered him as he heard him mumble; mumbling made up the majority of Oades’ speaking ability in his later years. Although not quite the strongman of his younger days he was still much a king as he was in the day. Now stationary for the most part Oades had more than enough time to think of his rise, his luxury, his status, but most importantly how he obtained it. The town is both a curse and a paradise mixed into one; for those willing to fight and do what is necessary it can be more of the latter. He sometimes wondered what life would have been like if he had been a sailor like his father or a factory worker like his mother; two hard working, honest people. Perhaps he would have had much less than he did now but still better off an eye, several fingers, and most of a foot or be one of the countless chumps meant to be exploited by people like him. The stately fireplace crackled as Claude dropped a fresh log into the flames. Oades was wheeled in front of it so he could see it in all its glory. It was very large, about as tall as a man standing but mainly just for show with a shelf on top several decks high filled with ornate, and most likely dubiously obtained, objects. He leaned back and let a wrinkly old smile grow ear to ear. Claude had just poured him a glass of tea. He slowly nursed at it, savoring it like fine wine. Even small luxuries like this could only afforded by the best in place like this. Oades settled more into his position next to the fire. This shrine to himself was there to remind him of all he had been through to obtain it. The fire itself was almost beckoning him to relive those old war stories from long ago. “It’s quite beautiful, isn’t it sir?” Claude knew how Oades loved his fireplace and what it represented. “Just thinking of all the blood, sweat, and tears you had to go through to earn such a place of honor can make one proud, no?” Claude wasn’t native to the Town like Oades was; he had no idea of the war he had to fight in order to obtain his “place of honor” and of course wars have their casualties. Although he had lived to a ripe old age, better off than most the town had entertained, many of his friends and family had not. A childhood friend, an old drinking buddy, a beloved cousin, even his own son had been cut down in the quest for power and wealth. He leaned further back and stared at a poorly constructed clay sculpture on a prominent place in his collection. “….Clyde.” His mood was beginning to change quickly from one of pride to that of sorrow and shame. He slightly leaned over to one side as if to stare off at something in the distance but instead was really trying to look away from the seemingly harmless lump of dried mud and filler. Most parents would have been ashamed of a son who smuggled and shot people up for a living but to Oades it was another member of the family joining the family business; at least at first. When Oades lived the wise guy’s life he could not see what damage it had done him but when it was his own son it was all too clear, heavy drink, easy women, and a hunted existence was not a proper life for anyone. If he had his son years earlier perhaps he could have done something more to protect him but it was not meant to be as he slipped further away from him. Drugs, a scummy, gold digging wife, late nights with “the boys”, and finally that fateful day when they found his bullet riddled body in the snow. Death had always been a close companion to him but this time it was different, this time he was far too close. “Who’s ready for dinner? ~” A youthful voice came from behind. It was his granddaughter Bonnie. For all the screw ups his ever inebriated daughter-in-law had performed this was one thing that twit could at least point to in her defense. Bonnie was everything you’d expect offspring of the upper crust to be: pampered and entitled and yet she was a sweet girl with a heart of gold deep down. She indeed was the kind of granddaughter you couldn’t help but spoil. “I hope you’re hungry, Grandpa Oadie, because I made plenty tonight.” She considered herself quite the cook and delighted in making dishes that he didn’t have the heart to tell her tasted like rubber and cough syrup. Tonight was her ever-so-famous “Soup That Tastes like over Salted Gasoline “which he had developed a tolerance for. He cherished these moments with what seemed like the only decent family he had left. Even though whatever relatives he had left in the town lived in his manor she was the only one who ever willingly took the time out of their day to visit let alone cook for him. it wasn’t the forced kind that feels obligated like during a birthday or Christmas he knew it was the love only family could have for one another that brought her to him every night. “Mmm….isn’t that just heavenly? ~” “No!” he chuckled to himself in his mind as he forced himself to consume the vile brew. When they were done she’d kiss him good night and it was off to bed for her but when he was once more alone he’d look back to his fireplace, his shrine, and see only a graveyard where moments earlier was a monument to himself. His reminder of his struggle also was a reminder of his loss and a reminder that in time she too would become one of the countless others the town must consume in order to stay alive. Oades took one last look at his shrine but this time, for the first time, with contempt because he had decided that she would be the last one of his blood it would feed upon. “GET THE FUCK OUT YOU GREEDY LECHER!” Mr. Baxter didn’t take too kindly when certain kinds of folk made advances towards his girls. Leo found this out the hard way long before but he wasn’t about to let some crusty old man spoil his fun. Leo had been known to have been taking some liberties with some of Mr. Baxter’s more rebellious girls, although today he would only find the business end of Baxter’s new bat. “Cummon old man! I was only being friendly!” “My girls don’t need any friends like you! What kind of friend takes food out of their mouths!?” Leo was there to collect on a long overdue “loan” from the latest in a long line of neighborhood big shots. One of the Town’s newest flavor of the month, there to terrorize and fatten up on the local townsfolk only to be carved up just as fast as they had risen. In fact, the cycle had just finished its course once more and Baxter was hoping his days of exploitation would soon be over. His deli would be no place for people like him once more, a respectable establishment of an honorable community once again. “Alright old man, no more games! The rent is due and you know it!” “I don’t owe that bitch anything! If she wants my money then she can get a job! A real job! And so could you for that matter!” “Trust me Baxter; you don’t want to do this. It ain’t smart like.” Leo warned him rubbing his head from Baxter’s advance. If only things had gone smoother, the winter this year was considerably rough, in fact, some were saying it was the worse the Town had seen in ages. Then again, the Town always seemed to have such rotten luck when it came to the weather. There was a saying that if one didn’t know better one could think God was trying to return the Town back to the swamps and barren land that it once was. That night was going to be especially rotten, the kind of night you should be in bed curled up. A night he had hoped he would have been spending with one of Baxter’s girls, not just for the company but for the fact that Leo’s apartment not only had no heat but it was also missing a window and part of a wall and the makeshift repairs he had made that kept him surprisingly dry in the rain had no such luck keeping out the cold. Leo had many things on his mind but at that moment his concern was mainly where he would stay for the winter. He was no stranger to the cold even when he was young he had always been a tough one. Although he wasn’t always the no-good-nick the Town knew him as. In those times, most dads were either drugging it up or jumping ship on their responsibilities faster than you could count but not his. His dad was always a proud figure in his life, he was so important. Why, people would come to him at all hours of the night to complain to him about problems they were having with a fellow business owner, a romantic rival, or someone that just made them very mad. And he, being so important, said he’d fix everything and it made them very happy. One night his dad caught him spying on him during one of those dark meetings, Leo asked him why all these people came to see him. His dad replied “Sometimes people have problems that are too big for them to handle on their own and so they need a “special friend” like me to help them make it all better.” It’d be years before he’d truly understand what he meant but when he got old enough to understand he’d become a chip off the old block. Leo learned that when you were a “special friend” everyone wanted to be yours and the Town became a less scary place. It was getting late and Leo remembered that he had an appointment to keep with a new “friend” of his and it was one he would be wise not to ignore. Old man Oades was quite the legend in the Town. Although the Town had been around long before him he was said to have almost singlehandedly transformed it from a place where illicit goods flowed and ladies of the night plied their trade to a mini-metropolis where the rich got richer for those who knew how to bow; not that there still wasn’t much more of the first two to still be had. He had roots, power, and wealth. Every lowlife wanted to be him, every honest working schmuck who wished for more envied him, and Leo was now on the very short list of people who actually got to meet him. “Alright Jeeves, I got here like I told ya I would. Now where’s the Old man?” Claude had been waiting for him in a predestined location, even for all the King’s men it still was not safe to brazenly travel at night; especially alone. “Master Oades will see you when he deems it fit to do so.” Leo was contacted days earlier about a special mission and was told to meet him there in the park. Although he was under the impression that Oades or at least one of the esteemed members of his family would do him the honor of meeting him in person if it were so damned important for all the secrecy and not send an overly dressed butler to do his dirty work. “What the hell is this? What? Do you want me to pick up his laundry or something!?” “I do understand your confusion but we certainly wouldn’t have come to someone like yourself if it weren’t Important. Now, if you’d be so kind as to follow me we have much to discuss. Right this way.” And with that Claude gestured Leo along and they were off, both disappearing like to shadows in the sunlight.

Wasn't that a fun read? This story was actually supposed to be the first chapter of a much longer story hence it ends at a no-so-exciting cliffhanger. Thank for reading, I look forward to your thoughts.

Posted: 27 Jan 2008, 10:16 AM

I was about to comment on the fact that not much seems resolved until I got to the end and read your last words. It was an interesting story, I like the setting and characters. Remember to always start a new paragraph when someone else begins speaking during dialogue. It's very difficult to understand if you have more than one person talking in the same paragraph.

If this is meant to be a shorter story, I would recommend cutting things down so you do end solidly and really conclude it, but as a first chapter, it's a good introduction. You never really resolve what happens with Leo and Mr. Baxter, though.

I'm interested to know what sort of fantasy elements are going to appear in the setting. As a thought, if this is meant to be a furry story, embrace that. Mention what types of animals the characters are. If I had read this without the preamble, I would never have suspected that it was meant to be a furry story. I think probably most people would think the same without the aid in-story.

Good start. Let us know if you do intend to continue.

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