I originally put the rough draft of this scene together for a creative writing course at college, but I revised it a bit and I thought I'd see what you guys thought about it. It's based on a comic I've been trying to work on for a while, but I mostly just write things out in proper story format rather than writing a simple script for a comic since I haven't really had a chance to have any decent artists get any actual work done on this for me.
With this piece I'm attempting to establish the characters and give the reader a good idea as to what sort of story they can expect. I feel I need a lot of work with establishing setting and characters, and overal story coherence. More than anything, I need work on general basics, more so than the advanced stuff they teach in college.
As frustrating as the creative writing course was (Mostly due to a teacher who was pretty much my opposite in almost every feasible way) I did pick up some useful concepts and ideas in relation to creating more distinct visuals with words, and a little bit on how to properly show instead of tell. One thing in particular I learned to focus on is how to suggest things with aside comments and indirect thoughts, which is so much more affective than stating things plainly. I still need to work on this, but I feel that I've gotten better at it.
Anyway... the following is a scene I plan to use as an introduction, a prologue I suppose. I may end up using this as the first chapter, or a filler early on, to cement the overal concept of the story. It still needs work, but I would appreciate any useful comments on how the weaker parts of this could be better done, and what it's strengths are and what I should try doing more of, if anything.
"What time is it?" I wondered out loud. This was the first afternoon visit Joseph and I had been allowed in a month, now. We were so busy lately, I'd almost forgotten the perfume of beer and tabacco, and the clacks and chatter at the pool tables nearby.
"Five-Fifteen,'" Joseph answered, pausing to finish his drink, "We're about out of time."
As he tucked his phone away I noticed the empty space in our booth; Derek's seat. Derek was a hulk of a man, a half foot over me, and at least twice Joseph's size. Back when we were a team, before the promotion split us up, we came here weekly. Johnny, Derek, Joseph and me; we were here every Thursday, always. Derek and Johnny would aruge over their score, both trying to top each other as they went over our latest raid; who got their target first, which one took the fewest shots in their most recent kill, and which one of them was closer to a promotion. It probably sounds bad, to take death so lightly, but in this work you learn not to take things so seriously.
Joseph would usually give them shit for it, but he always did it with a joke. He never pulled rank on us, not here. The pub was ours in those days; our little hidey hole, away from the responsible world. I'd always watch at first, never part of the laughter until the whiskey shots finally kicked in, and I'd forget I was supposed to be miserable, if only for a little while. Now it was just the two of us; Derek's been running our old unit, and Johnny... well, life in the S.W.A.T. has it's risks. Joseph still visits him on the weekends, but I haven't seen him since the breakdown. I feel for him, I really do, but I just can't bear to see him like that.
By now, we were out of time. I threw down two twenties for the drinks, and took a quick count to make sure there was enough left to pick up a twelve-case later. I let Joseph reach the door first so I could drag what was left of my cigarette before the October chill could hit me. Outside, I stood at the street corner and watched Joseph's car pull away, squinting against the light of the street lamp and the full moon. We usually travelled together, but not tonight.
My watch beeped seven blocks later to remind me it was currently six o'clock. I was almost on my third cigarette since the bar, but that would have to wait. Some voices drew my attention to a newsstand across the intersection, and I saw it; A fight was breaking out, between a young couple and two local hoods. One of the kids had a switchknife; him and his buddy coerced the other two around a corner into the alleyway and out of sight.
"Soon to be two dead bodies," I figured. They had barely a moment's headstart on me, but I couldn't intercept before I was sure. Hugging the side of the alley, I watched them through the narrow space between the wall and an old dumpster.
"So, how are you folks liking the city?" said the hood with the knife, hovering towards
the couple, step by step, his buddy beside him.
"Hey, we - whoa - just, just don't, don't do anything crazy, okay?" The gentleman, a young puerto-rican twenty-something, stumbled, hands trembling as he backed away. He was rubbing his fingers together, and his fingernails made an odd grinding sound. His presumed girlfriend was scratching her neck, averting the gaze of the two hoods and her boyfriend. Both of them were dressed awfully light for the cold weather, yet they were sweating. I couldn't wait any longer.
"Evening, fellas!" I shouted, striding out into the open. The kid with the knife and his buddy both twitched their heads toward me. The former squinted at me, eyeing me up, probably looking for a police badge. The couple both noticed me as well, then glanced at one another. I couldn't hear, but the woman whispered something to her squeeze while staring straight at me.
Moments like these remind me why I started working for the Bureau. Before either of the hoods could react, I tucked open my coat, 'accidentally' revealing my badge as I grabbed my cigarettes, and both kids froze. After lighting up I looked the armed kid straight in the eye and I smiled, pausing as I was about to put the pack away.
"Do you guys smoke?" I asked as I dangled the pack just barely in view, but he shook his head. He glanced from me, to his buddy, and gestured with his head. Without a word, the kid bolted and his buddy shortly followed. I snorted and shook my head, glancing back to the other two.
"You both all right?" Both of them were still very fidgety, like they were in a hurry to get somewhere.
"I think so." The young man stammered, awkwardly. "I - I'm glad you showed up when you did. Um... thanks."
"Oh, it's no problem." I smiled. "You folks aren't from around here, are you?" They both shook their heads, silently.
"I tell you what; I'll walk you someplace a little less dangerous, and you can pick up a cab from there?"
"Uh, I don't think that's necessary, sir, but - "
"Nonsense! It's just a quick walk, and then you'll both be on your way to a cozy motel."
Reluctantly, they followed along. I led them through the alleyway, pausing every so often to double check the nearest street. I took out my phone momentarily; both of them stared at me, like everyone always does when they see me; apparently it's very unusual to see a cop sending a text message.
A little later, a breeze hit as we rounded a corner, and I paused to button up my coat. It wasn't really that cold, but it was a good enough excuse to get a grip on the knife in my pocket, unnoticed. As we hit the final stretch of my escourt I stopped to put out my cigarette, snuffing it into a spray-painted brick, and waved at the couple to go on ahead. I the knife out of my pocket, tucking it under my wrist, and continued following them.
They didn't reach very far; the lady suddenly barreled over, shouting as she flew face-first into the alley floor. Her boyfriend moved in to help, but stopped. By now, I was close enough to see why; A low hanging silver wire was strung across the alley. The woman clutched her shin, which had been cut open and showed a nasty burn along the wound. That's not the sort of wound a regular person would get from any wire, you see. At this point, I couldn't afford to hesitate any longer.
Too late, the man realized what he and his lady had just walked into. He glanced back at me just as I swung, my arm leaving a brief silver arc the wake of the blade. I was fast, but he saw it coming and blocked my knife with an arm, taking a deep cut on the inside of his forearm, just shy of the elbow.
He snarled, growling a deep gutteral noise, and nailed me with his other arm, uppercutting right into my jaw, and I nearly fell over backward Before I got my balance, he grabbed my by the collar and I was pulled off my feet, hoisted up, and thrown agaisnt the brick wall, which knocked the wind out of me. I was crumpled up, but I still had my knife. Before I could even see straight, I felt his foot come down on my wrist. I heard something snap; The adrenaline and cold weather had numbed me, but that was going to hurt like Hell in a few minutes.
The explosions of three gunshots roared down the alleyway, and for a second I thought I'd gone deaf. The weight on my arm finally receded; I cradled my wrist and took a deep breath as feeling ebbed back into it. The "man", or what was left of him, was lying on his side. He almost appeared to be sleeping, where it not for the tiny exit wound above his temple. If you've never hunted a real monster before, especially one ethat can change shape, I gotta tell you it's not something you forget.
As the wound started bleeding his lips curled up into a sneer; largeg wolf fangs grew out and forced his mouth slightly open. In just about ten seconds, his ears grew bigger and pointerd, a thin scruff of hair grew around his neck, his half-open eyes became a faded yellow, and his fingernails grew into inch long claws. I glanced down the alley; the "woman" was also shot dead. Joseph was hunched over her, checking for signs of life. He looked up from the body to me and shouted "Target's neutralized! What about the other one?"
"Dead." I called back, adjusting my arm. "You could have been a little faster on the draw!"
"Ah you've had it worse." He muttered, pulling his cell phone out of his coat. "Just sit tight, paramedics will be here in a bit."
Within three minutes a cleanup team showed up in a black van; Seven men and two women. By the time the ambulance arrived the team had snapped at least twenty photos and bagged the bodies; the usual routine. The paramedicds urged me into the van, and it took about ten minutes to convince them I just needed a split and bandages. I'm a quick healer, y'know. What's more, they don't allow alcohol in a hospital, at least not for the patients. I just wanted to get home and deal with the paperwork. At least he didn't break my good hand.