forum Could Someone Crit the Prologue of my New Story?
Started by @John-Mulaney-Killed-Princess-Diana group

people_alt 52 followers

@John-Mulaney-Killed-Princess-Diana group

Not ideal, but here it is:


 Everett Dawson stood in the entryway of the abandoned house.  She was nervous, although she would never admit that to anybody, but she fought hard to maintain her composure.  To keep her cool gray eyes steely and unyielding.  Cisco Martinez would be there any second, and he couldn't see her like that.  He would take it as a sign of weakness, and local law enforcement preyed on the weak.

 Sure enough, he was early.  The thin young man slid easily out of the car, offering her a stoic nod once he did so.  Everett forced herself to focus on her intellect, to keep her heart rate steady as she inclined her head back.  

 As he approached her, she noticed to bulge near his left hip.  She was positive that he had a gun hidden underneath his jacket, but that was alright.  He wouldn't shoot.  She was sure of it.

 "Officer Martinez!" She exclaimed, sticking out her hand once he was close enough.  "So nice of you to agree to meet me."

 He greeted her with a raised eyebrow.  "You can drop the act, Miss Lin.  You didn't have a choice in the matter.  I suggest you step inside."

 Everett felt a surge of relief.  He still didn't know her real name.  This would simplify matters.

 "Of course," She said, holding the door open for him.  "Ladies first."

 He ignored the slight against his primitive masculinity and proceeded her into the house Everett had been using as her hideout for three weeks.  He looked around once he was inside, seemingly unimpressed, and asked her, "Where do you want to do this?"

 "Here is most convenient," she lied, and feigned disappointment when he directed her into the next room.  People were so predictable it made her want to cry.

 He led the way into her makeshift dining room and pointed bluntly to a rickety chair.  She sat down on it, her face impassive.  It seemed to unsettle a little bit, how calm she was.  Good.  That was the desired reaction.

 He sat across from her, pulling a knife out of his pocket and sticking it into the wood table between them.  Everett noticed for the first time that, thin though he might be, Cisco Martinez was likely strong enough to snap her neck in half.  This didn't scare her in the slightest.  It was just the two of them, alone in an abandoned house, and he was entirely at his mercy.

 What Everett didn't know, however, that they were not alone.  No less than seven other individuals were spread out around the four stories of the house, each working independently of one another.  There was a hundred and fifty thousand dollar price on Everett Dawson's head, and none of those seven individuals were friendly towards her. 

 On the second floor stood Toro Ross, well over six feet tall and dark-skinned, with a shaved head and coal-black eyes.  He had no idea that the puny police officer was coming, but it didn't worry him.  Toro wasn't a fan of violence, but besides being an adept fighter, he was such an imposing figure that people typically didn't even think of messing with him.  Cracking his knuckles one by one, the small room he stood in amplifying the sound, he took a deep breath in.  He was ready.

 In the vents above a nearby room, looking down on where Everett Dawson (alias Sparrow Lin) and Cisco Martinez sat, Fennec Greene positioned her shotgun at the woman's head.  She blew her long, auburn hair out of her face and took careful aim.  She had been tracking down Everett for nearly six months, but she had finally located her.  This was an opportunity she couldn't screw up.  Not like the last time.

 Bodhi Nakamura had the same idea as Fennec.  He was against violence, as Toro was, but like the thin young woman in the vent across from his, wasn't after Everett for the money.  What he needed was the glory that went along with bringing in an alleged murder to the police station.  He readied the small tranquilizer dart in his left hand and exhaled through his nose.  He still hadn't noticed the red-haired woman directly across from him, nor had he seen the girl directly below him.

 Kira Razova strapped on her gas mask.  She was living more dangerously than the other assassins in the house, the only thing obstructing Cisco and Everett's view of her being weak shadows.  The dark Russian woman wasn't exactly brawny, but she had managed to lug a large tank of poisonous gas into the dining room.  Kira liked poison- a little too much- but what was there not to like?  It was efficient and inevitable, and there was no running from it.  Everett couldn't escape her fate.

 Ase Faenav was further away from the target than her peers.  She was residing on the top floor of the old house and didn't seem to be going anywhere.  Her knife was stuck in its holster, and not for the first time.  Uttering Norwegian swear words under her breath, she wrestled with her blade until it came up like a rocket and gave her cheek an ugly gash, nearly stabbing her blue-green eyes.  She swore once again- "Faen-" and wiped it up with the cuff of her sleeve.  She had to keep it together.  The cut on her cheek didn't matter.  Hell, even the reward money didn't matter.  All she wanted was Everett Dawson's cold, dead body.

 Daygon Ranger was having similar issues.  His gun was jammed only a few rooms away, but he stopped cold when he heard the word that Ase had muttered.  Faen.  Daygon stopped cold.  He knew for a fact that Everett was alone downstairs, and he sincerely doubted that she knew Norwegian swearwords.  There was someone in the next room over.  And he had to beat them.

 Eureus Nabara was, as usual, on top of things.  She was the only one in the house who knew how many people she was dealing with, so she took steps to ensure that it was she who killed Everett Dawson.  The big man could be an issue- the anesthetic might have kicked in a little late- but all the others relied on weapons.  And weapons could be easily sabotaged.  

 Pulling two knives from their sheathes near her hips, Eureus crept along the basement floor.  The eager Russian girl - Razova, was it? - had probably opened the jar on the poisonous gas to discover that it had been replaced with harmless fumes, alerting Everett to her presence.  Everett would be escaping any time.  It was now or never.

 Eureus scaled the stairs as quickly as she could.  This proved to be difficult, however, seeing as the house was so old that Eureus had to skip multiple steps just to remain silent.  After she had completed the task, she wandered around the first floor until she found the dining room.  

 Eureus had underestimated the Russian girl.  Kira Razova had not yet opened the jar of nontoxic fumes, and Everett and the cop were still talking.  The cop was clearly tense, and his hand never wavered from his hidden holster, but Everett was quite clearly relaxed.  She sat there, calm as anything, as Cisco Martinez spoke to her.

 "You don't have a choice, Miss Lin," he was telling her.  "It's either you come with us, and you can hire a decent layer, or we take you against your will.  They won't give you a trial if we don't want them to."

 Everett ran a hand through her short blonde hair.  "You always have a choice, officer." 

 "I've had enough," he said after a short pause.  "Sparrow Lin, you are officially under arrest.  You have the right to-"

 Then all hell broke loose.

 Everett grabbed Officer Martinez by the collar of his shirt and pulled him against her, effectively shielding her from Eureus' knife.  He was at least half a foot taller than her, so the dagger didn't pierce the woman's head as Eureus had hoped.  Instead, it lodged itself in Cisco Martinez's chest.  He let out a scream of pain as Everett yanked the knife out of his body and stabbed him again in the back.  At the same time, Kira Razova smashed the tank of gas against the floor, releasing the fumes into the air.  A few seconds later, Eureus felt a sharp pain on the back of her neck.  She whipped around to search for the source of the tranquilizer dart and her eyes landed on a small Korean man, hidden in the vents above.  Eureus had made sure that the serum Bodhi Nakamura had dipped his fragile dart in had been harmless, but that didn't stop it from stinging.

 Officer Martinez was laying on the ground, unconscious, and Everett was getting away.  Eureus had done her job too well.  The loud thud from above her head indicated that the anesthetic had worked on Toro, and Fennec's gun was malfunctioning in the vents above.  The two of them were entirely on their own.  

 Knife in hand, Eureus ran after Everett, struggling to keep up with her.  Everett knocked over items as she ran, and slammed the old door behind her when she sprinted out of the house.  By the time Eureus had burst through the door and into the night sky, Everett Dawson was gone.  And Eureus Nabara had a house full of assassins to deal with.

@Starfast group

Here's a couple of things that stood out to me:

  • I feel like we're not really in Everett's head enough if that makes sense. Like, in the very beginning we're told that she's nervous, but there's not a lot that really supports that. Are her palms sweating? Her heart racing? Breathing heavily, etc.? I think if we knew a little more about what she was feeling or thinking it would add a little more tension.
  • I feel like this suffers from White Room Syndrome a little bit. Which is, you're not giving us enough description about where this is being set. All we really know is that it's in an abandoned house and there's a couple pieces of furniture mentioned but beyond that we don't really have much to go on. And in an abandoned house there's a lot of really strong visuals that you could be using to set your scene (cobwebs, dust, cracked or boarded up windows, maybe some graffiti?) Just tell us more about the setting.
  • I didn't really like the transition from Everett to all the assassins. The line that you used made it feel kind of forced and kind of cliche. I feel like there's better ways of shifting the attention from one set of characters to another.
  • Speaking of the assassins, having all of them introduced at once felt like a bit much. We're still sort of getting know Everett and then suddenly not one, not two, but seven more new characters are introduced. It felt a little bit like an info dump to me, and I'm not sure how important they are to the story but maybe their motives and such could be revealed at a different time? I think this prologue might be more effective if we focussed solely on Everett.
  • It's mentioned that Bodhi Nakamura is Korean, but neither of those names are Korean. Is there a reason for that?
  • There was a couple of typos that I noticed. Like there was one point where you used "murder" instead of murderer, "layer" instead of lawyer. This just needs to be proofread a little more thoroughly.
  • This isn't a critique, but I loved the usage of the "Then all hell broke loose" line. This feels like a weirdly specific compliment to give, but sometimes those short sentences can really pack a punch, and it really worked here.

@John-Mulaney-Killed-Princess-Diana group

Again, not an ideal way to share, but I switched it up quite a bit. Don't be afraid to be harsh, anyone can critique it, I will appreciate any feedback!


 Everett Dawson stood outside the abandoned house at a quarter till midnight, the freezing air stinging her face and whipping at her hair.  But despite the cold, her palms were still slick with sweat that just kept reappearing no matter how many times she wiped them.  Cisco Martinez should have arrived ten minutes ago, but Everett expected him to be late.  It was a small, single-story house in the middle of Russia.  It wasn't exactly easy to locate.

 But if Everett knew what to expect, then why was her heart going this fast?  Why wasn't she calm and collected?  This was not how Everett had been trained to think.  She focused all her energy on hardening her stormy gray eyes, on removing all traces of fear from her face.  There would be time for that later.

 After another five minutes of waiting, a small BMW pulled up on the side of the poorly paved road.  Cisco Martinez slid out of the car, and Everett forced a smile onto her lips.  She didn't doubt that it looked convincing.  She knew it did.

 "Officer Martinez!"  She exclaimed, sticking out her hand to him once he was close enough.  Everett pretended not to notice the large, black rifle swinging from his right hip.  "So nice of you to agree to meet me."

 "You can drop the act, Ms. Lin," he said, resigned.  Everett felt a surge of relief.  The police still didn't know her real name.  This would simplify things.

 "Ah, well," she shrugged, pulling the old, wood door open for him.  It nearly swung off its hinges.  "Ladies first."

 He chose to ignore the slight against his basic, almost primitive masculinity and stepped inside the old house.  The entryway had a certain sadness that lingered around it, no matter how bright it was outside.  The disappointing lack of sun at twelve in the morning didn't do the small, monotonous space any favors.  Martinez looked around, unimpressed, as Everett followed him into the mudroom.  "I have a feeling this may take a while.  Do you have a place to sit?"  He asked once she was inside, looking her up and down.  Sizing her up.  

 Everett knew she didn't look like much.  Short blonde hair, thin arms, and barely hitting five feet tall.  But she didn't break eye contact with him as he looked at her.  So what if she wasn't strong?  She had always preferred guns to brute force, anyway.

 "I do," She told Martinez and led him into a dejected-looking dining room.  It looked even gloomier than the entryway, with peeling black paint covering the walls and white linoleum flooring.  No wonder nobody lived there.  There was also a small, green table in the center of the room, surrounded by five red chairs.  It looked like a goddamn Christmas holiday special.  But Martinez didn't seem to notice or care.  He just kicked out a chair and sat down heavily.  "Sit down, Ms. Lin."

 Everett perched herself on the edge of the table.  The police officer across from her sat in silence for a moment, then said, "Please hand over all of your weapons, Ms. Lin."

 Everett nonchalantly pulled a knife out of the side pocket of her simple white dress and gave it to him.  Martinez raised a bushy, dark eyebrow at her.  "Is that really all?"

 She reached back into the same pocket and closed her fingers around a grenade, then extended it towards him.

 Cisco Martinez flinched so badly he nearly fell out of his chair.  "Mierda, mujer- why the hell are you carrying a grenade around?  Are you crazy?  What the f-"

 Everett sat there patiently, fighting to keep the smile off of her face.  The grenade had been dead for years.  A child could use it as a baseball if it wanted to.  And sure, Everett had a mission to accomplish while Officer Marinez was in the vicinity.  That didn't mean she couldn't have a little fun with him first, though.

 After a few seconds of sputtering, Martinez set it down tentatively on the counter between them.  "That stays there, Lin.  Are we clear?"

 "Absolutely," She reassured him.  He cleared his throat.

 "Enough games.  Why did you send the police your location?  You've eluded capture for months, and out of the blue, we get a message telling us exactly where you are and who to send?"

 "An accident," She told him, looking at her nails in a bored sort of way.  "There was another twenty-seven-year-old Cisco Jose Lopez Martinez in Russia I wanted to see."  Everett met his eyes, which were a dark shade of amber.  "It's because I wanted to meet you, douche."

 "And why is that?"  He snapped.  Martinez hated being treated like a fool.  Everett knew that.  And that was why she intended to make him feel as dumb as possible.

 Everett had her own reasons for inviting him there, but none that she intended to share with him.  Either way, unless Martinez was the most oblivious person on the planet, her reason would become apparent in... roughly eleven seconds.  

 "You know what? I don't care.  I've had enough," He said after she was silent for a moment.  "Delilah Lin, you are officially under arrest.  You have the right to remain silent-"

 That was when all hell broke loose.

 There was a shattering of glass in the corner of the room, where a slight Russian girl wearing a freakish gas mask had purposefully shattered a green vial on the ground.  Everett had anticipated that Kira Razova would attempt to assassinate her that night, and she was ready for the lethal dosage of poison that had come leaking out of the destroyed jar.  Everett kicked Martinez in the chest, causing him to stumble away from the table, then proceeded to reach underneath and yank down a gas mask she had stapled to the bottom earlier that week.  After strapping it hastily over her face, Everett reached out and grabbed Martinez's arm.  The look of confusion quickly turned to terror when he realized what she was about to do.  

 Only a few seconds after Razova had smashed the bottle, a silver throwing knife came from the opposite side of the room.  It was set to hit Everett directly between the eyes, but she pulled Martinez in front of her, effectively using him as a human shield.  Her forehead was level with the bottom of his shoulder blades, so the knife hit him just to the left of his heart.  A disappointing result, but at least Everett now had an exceptional knife.  Martinez screamed and sputtered at the same time as she reached around, yanked the knife out of his chest, and drove it into the nape of his neck.  Everett lifted her eyes just in time to see Kira Razova, the Russian girl with the poison, fleeing the scene, and craned her neck the other way in an attempt to spot her well-aimed assailant.  

 The person she saw was a tall young woman, her hand still outstretched from the knife she had lodged into Cisco Martinez's chest.  Her eyes, which Everett could see over the gas mask she had on, were a cold, foggy blue, and they didn't widen in surprise like Everett had expected them to when she failed to hit her target.  Instead, the woman gave her a cool, frosty glare and reached for her next knife, which was strapped inside of her long black coat.  

 Cisco Martinez was on the floor, and he didn't seem to be going anywhere.  Everett felt a brief rush of satisfaction that evaporated when the young woman pulled her knife out of the sewn-in pocket, and she dropped to the ground just in time.  The knife missed her head by less than an inch, and Everett didn't stop to take a breath.  She pulled the jaded but sturdy dagger out of the top of Martinez's back, and he groaned and stopped moving.
 Everett had never liked knives.  She was more of a, "Shoot them while their backs are turned!" type of person.  But this one would do perfectly.  Fingering the metal hilt in her hand, Everett slowly stood up to face her adversary.   
 The woman still had a knife, but she seemed warier, more cautious now that Everett had one in her left hand.  The woman walked up to her, stopping once she was a good five meters away or so, and to Everett's surprise, she spoke.

 "I've called off the police," The woman said.  Her voice was clear and careful, with only a slight edge of resentment.  More than Everett herself could have managed.

 "Nice of you," She said through gritted teeth.  The woman would not stop causing trouble.  The police were supposed to come, and Everett was supposed to slip away, unnoticed, as the cops and the two assassins killed each other off.  Ah, well.  At least there was no one there to revive Cisco Martinez.

 "It's good to finally meet you, Everett," The woman continued.  Everett stopped dead.  

 "It's Delilah Lin," She growled, and the woman laughed.

 "Oh, so we're using our fake names?  Sure, Delilah.  I'm Tally Prentiss, in that case.  By the way, I've never been to New York.  What's it like there?"

 Everett backed up into the table and sent her knife scattering across the chipped green wood, instead reaching for the grenade.  It was the woman's turn to freeze.

 "Stay back, or I will explode both of our asses.  You know I will."  Her voice betrayed her.  It shook.

 Everett backed up even further until her back hit the wall.  The woman didn't even dare to breathe.

 She fumbled for the doorknob, letting out a slight sigh when it turned without sticking as it so often did.  "See you around," she called back to the woman, "Eureus."