forum critique my rather loooooooooong snippet pls?
Started by @dennywrites group

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@dennywrites group

okay dat is very long plz someone be brave

The ice cream cart is about a ten- minute walk from the school. Knox doesn’t really seem put out by the whole no-seeing-Mallory-unless-the-apocalypse-is- what-you-want thing; he’s walking along and talking about his favourite ice cream flavours and previous Unterworld experiences.
“Something’s not right,” he says after finishing a rant about banshee concerts. Of course you wouldn’t go to one. They’re banshees!
“I agree,” I say, “Because why would you go to a banshee concert? That’s just wrong.”
“It is,” he nods, looking around nervously. “But something that’s even wronger - if that’s a word - is the air. Oh look - the tennis court has a garden gnome! That’s cute.”
I laugh. “What’s wrong with the air? It’s been around your whole life and you’re just noticing it now? And garden gnomes are creepy…”
“I- it’s probably nothing. Let’s just keep going.”
I’m about to object that no it’s not nothing, and since he can see the future, why doesn’t he just see what it is, when I hear something.
“Let’s hurry up, just in case.” I say. Knox apparently finds no fault in doing so, because he speeds up.
“Hi guys!”
I jump, but I’m happy to say I’m still in my skin. I didn’t jump out of it.
Mallory floats around us. “Gosh, you guys are slow! I thought you’d be at your home by now, but I guess…”
Knox looks up. ”Mallory?” There’s an awful lot of hope in his voice, but I can tell he doesn’t really believe it.
No, I don’t have psychic powers. It’s just… I know what it’s like to feel like that.
Mallory looks sad, too. I guess it’s understandable, though, that her one cousin can’t hear or see her or else he would doom the world. “Hi, Knox.” She says it very half-heartedly.
He looks away.
“Anyway,” says Mallory, forcing a smile, “I’ve been to the Unterworld, that’s why I was gone.”
I fill Knox in, and his reaction probably should have been expected; “You did what, are you going to Fade already, which Deathborn was it?”
“Deathborn?” I ask, because it’s not like that spells doom-and-gloom all over.
“That’s not important,” Mallory insists, and I don’t tell that to Knox, because he’d definitely argue with that. I’m internally arguing right now, and I don’t even know what a Deathborn is.
“I may have found a loophole!”
“You what?” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mad. I’m happy because now Knox won’t be showing up at school demanding to see Mallory, just like he threatened to do. And that’s something I don’t need in my life.
I tell Knox, who takes it well. He just nods and asks, “So what do I do?”
“See,” I say, “I thought we were getting ice cream.” I should not have said Mallory was here. I just wanted some ice cream and for Knox to go away.
Alas, my ice cream reveries are not to be. Both Knox and Mallory look at me like How can you think of ice cream at a time like this, so I shut up.
“I think maybe, just maybe, there can be two people helping a ghost for her third Trial. Isn’t it worth a shot, at least?” Mallory seems really, really hopeful, despite the fact this could still cause the apocalypse.
I relay this to Knox, who gulps. “And if it doesn’t work?” he asks, tugging his glove’s fingers again.
“Oh,” I say, remembering what Mallory told me. “Then I think you die.”
Knox gulps again. “Wonderful.”
“Cheer up,” I say, and then I get an idea. “But just in case, let’s get the ice cream first.”
Mallory and Knox laugh. “You’re not helping,” says Knox, who nevertheless looks a little more comfortable about this.
“Fine,” I say, throwing my hands into the air. “Let’s just get this over with.”
“Just a question,” says Knox, a small smile playing on his lips, “Can a dead ghost get arrested for murder?” Mallory scowls. “I heard that.”
“Let’s just do this,” I say, because Knox isn’t wrong. I’m also feeling like something’s off.
“Just swear that you’ll help me through my Trials and to Death itself. Easy!” says Mallory. I can’t tell if her confidence is fake or not. I repeat it to Knox.
“I, Knox Rivers, I swear to help Mallory through her Trials because I’m a nice guy, until Death itself, wherever that is. The end.”
I laugh. “The end? Seriously?”
“I’ve never had to end a sacred oath before. Sue me for trying!”
“At least you’re still alive,” I say, and Mallory nods. “I knew he wouldn’t die! Well, I was 51% sure, anyways…”
“That’s an awful lot of maybe to risk someone’s life for… but I’m going to get some ice cream now,” I continue. “You guys can stay and see if it worked. Knox, what flavour?”
“Maple walnut with an Oreo on top.” He doesn’t even look up from staring at the garden gnome.
“Why an Oreo? I don’t think it would taste good with the maple ice cream.”
He laughs. ”It doesn’t. It’s just an Oreo. But it tastes good. And don’t worry. These guys are cool with it.” He jerks his head towards the shop.
I blink. “So the Oreo serves no purpose in your ice cream?” He nods, and I smile.
“Fine then.” Then I run towards the ice cream cart. I can almost taste the lemonade flavored ice cream they have here. And the whole time I'm running, all I’m thinking about is the ridiculousness of Knox’s Oreo.

“Hi,” I say, glancing at the menu. “I’d like a two-scoop maple walnut with an Oreo on top, and a … um…”
The guy who works here leans over. His voice sounds like it hasn’t had many chances to be used, and his baseball cap seems like it’ll fall off any moment.
“What flavours ye like, missy?”
I scan the list of flavours. “Citrus, please. Lime-orange?”
He nods, scooping out the ice creams and handing them to me.
“Before you go… tell Oreo boy to watch his step.”
“Oreo boy? You mean Knox?”
He nods. “Are you friends with him? Tell Oreo boy to watch his step.”
I shove the ice creams into one hand, and nod, even though I’m really confused. I turn back. “Say, you wouldn’t happen to have any napkins, would you?”
“Nay. But go tell Oreo boy to watch his step- or I’ll stop it for him.”
His voice is now a guttural rasp, but that’s probably the least of my worries. The guy’s skin is turning stone gray, and he pulls off his baseball cap with a flourish, revealing two demon horns. His apron pops and a forked tail, both ends barbed with something unpleasant-smelling, sways in the air.
“I said-” His eyes seem to turn to fire, explosive and dangerous. His horns spark and light, now ablaze but not burned, and I back away slowly. His fingers grow to clawed talons that belong on an eagle, not on this former ice cream employee.
“I said, tell Oreo boy to watch his step! Or I’ll stop it for him!” He licks his teeth, now full-grown fangs, at the prospect of doing so.
I guess stopping his step would be doing something very bad to Knox and- stop analyzing the bad dude’s threats already, Abi!
The final nail on the coffin of horror; he grows, the shirt ripping, until he’s seven feet tall. And he looks like he’s come straight from the Unterworld.
I run, almost tripping over one of the shop wheels. Knox and Mallory turn towards me in surprise. “Oh yay, ice cream.” says Knox, reaching for his Oreo-topped treat. I swat his hand away.
“Look behind me!” I yell, my voice shrill to my ears. Knox and Mallory do, just in time to see the monstrous ice cream guy pulling off a tree branch and lighting it on fire.
“That’s a problem,” says Knox, his voice quavering a little.
“You think, Oreo boy?” I yell in disbelief. The monstrous employee turns towards us, and a maniacal grin spreads across his face.
“I think that that’s a fire demon,” says Mallory, floating upwards a bit. “They often go rogue like this; it’s a bit of a problem up here in the Above. Not to mention that they, um, they’re cannibals.”
The demon yells in, as if agreement to that statement. “Watch yer step!” he roars, almost gleefully, swinging his fiery staff around. The heat blasts in my face, and I run even farther away.
“Knox, get a stick, anything we can use as weapons! Mallory, you said this was a fire demon- how do we beat it?” Who is this version of me and what have they done to my normally disorganized brain?
“Okay,” says Knox, running towards a small tree.
“Well,” says Mallory, twirling her hair, “I guess the obvious answer would be water, seeing as it’s a fire demon, but we don’t have any now, so I don’t really know…”
“Save my Oreo for me!” yells Knox, from where he is at the foot of the tree, stomping on a branch.
“Why would you care about your Oreo when we’re being attacked by a fire demon!” I yell back, avoiding the searching eyes of the demon, who’s twirling his fiery tail and staff like they’re batons and he’s a merry band member. The wreckage of the ice cream cart, the first unlucky recipient of the wrath of this demon, is overturned, and is starting to burn. I shove our ice creams under it, and yell, “Knox! Forget the stick! Help me get all the ice cream out!”
He looks at me quizzically. “Planning on snacking after this?” I run over to the cart and start tugging at a beam. “Just do it!”
“Okay, okay. No need to quote Nike on me. Any flavour in particular we’re looking for?”
I shake my head. “No, but if it’s a fire demon, we can throw the ice cream at it and it might melt part of it away.”
“Ooooh. That’s a good idea.”
“Just shut up and drag them away!” Mallory yells, floating around the demon’s head to distract it.
I throw a carton of fudge brownie at the demon, who looks up, surprised. The ice cream does nothing. The demon laughs, and Knox throws a carton of Smarties at the demon’s legs.
The Smarties fly like bullets in the air, paying no mind to their ice cream coating. And when they land, they do what would be expected of any bullet—they penetrate the demon’s skin. The spots where it hits sizzles for a moment, and then it melts a bunch of holes in the demon.
I’m surprised. Chunky Smarties ice cream might be our savior.
“Knox,” I yell, chucking another carton. “We passed a country club with a tennis court on the way here. D’you remember?”
He nods, clearly puzzled, and I lick some Smarties residue off my fingers. It’s still ice cream coated chocolate, whether it’s being thrown at a demon or not.
“Go get one of those automatic tennis ball launcher machines! And anything else we can use to launch ice cream!”
The tree I’m under creaks, and the demon’s tail barbs impale themselves in a branch above my head. “And hurry!” I add, blindly throwing Smarties everywhere. Then I run, ducking under the tail and rubbing it with Popsicles. The demon has enough time to look surprised before his tail—one of his biggest weapons—melts.
The demon growls and twirls his fiery staff, knocking aside branches and setting them on fire.
I gulp. This all suddenly got much more real. Not only is the ice cream cart ruined, and there’s a demon loose, but now more than one thing is on fire. And the things on fire are way too close for comfort.
The demon turns, spinning towards me, his eyes alight with a burning rage. He spins the staff at me, and I duck hold up some ice cream in the hopes it’ll melt the fire. The ice cream doesn’t work the way I’d hoped. The fire gets blocked, but some flames lick their way onto my hoodie. And it’s not just any hoodie that I’m wearing. It’s the Sacred Hoodie.
And it’s on fire.
I yelp, and pull it off and dump a bunch of ice cream on it, dousing the flames. The demon laughs, like he knows something I don’t, and draws back the staff, ready for another strike.
I don’t let him. I run back towards the ice cream cart’s remains and dive under a pile of mint chocolate chip ice cream. The demon pauses for a moment, like he knows this is a trick. But then he charges forward, his staff in front of him and his eyes blazing.
His staff takes lots of the damage. Because I just made a demon run head-first into a pile of mint chocolate chip. Great. I can check that off my bucket list.
Most of his head is gone, and his staff is covered in ice cream, but the bit of head and his torso are still very much there.
Now it looks like a deformed fire tornado god.
Beep! Beep! “Outta my way, suckers!” Thunk. There’s only one thing that sounds like that; Knox driving a golf cart into a demon. The demon reels from the impact, and Knox and I waste no time throwing ice cream and Popsicles at it.
It howls, and tries to grip onto something, anything to stop the ice cream now coming in great hulking gobs like rain.
I walk up to where it lies, only one eye left, staring at me with undisguised hatred. I smile at it, and jab a Popsicle in its eye, killing it.
Death is surprisingly silent.
“Oh,” I say, running back to the ice cream cart and pulling out Knox’s ice cream. “I think this is yours?”
He reaches for it, nodding. “Sweet! The Oreo survived!”

Mom slaps a newspaper on the table. “Two days. I’m gone for two days and this happens. I’m starting to rethink being gone all month.”
I glance at the newspaper headline:

Freak explosion decimates ice cream, trees, and golf cart.

I gulp. There are two whole pages dedicated to the story. “Which… which ice cream cart was it?” I ask, trying to sound like I had nothing to do with it.
“The one on Boulanger. That’s only two streets down! Can you imagine!”
I nod grimly. Oh, I can imagine all right. I can imagine a fiery demon swinging a poisonous barbed tail at me. I can imagine throwing ice cream in self-defense. And I can definitely imagine the searing heat that happens when your favourite hoodie catches fire.
I try to laugh it off. “Come on. It’s the first big building order in ages, and you’re going to give it up just because some pipes burst?”
She sighs. “I’ve just got a really bad feeling, like something’s just started… and I don’t really want to see the endgame.”
“Okaaaaaaaaaaaay,” I say, standing up and reaching for my backpack. “If that’s all, I have school and you have mansion-crafting so I’m just gonna-”
She shakes her head. “Just letting you know, your school’s having a bake sale tomorrow. I’m making brownies, and you’re selling them. It’s all arranged with the teachers, and they’ll be looking for you, so you can’t get out of this.
Does she think I have nothing better to do than stand around waiting for people to shove their sticky fingers into a box of brownies?
I groan. “I’m… busy that day.” Mom aims an arched eyebrow at me. “You’re busy that day, that’s right. Busy with school and brownie selling.”
There’s no getting out of this, I can tell. But at least Knox is at school. Someone else I can talk to about my near-impossible task of helping Mallory through her third Trial.
I sigh. “Fine. As long as I get to eat one.”
Mom nods, and I walk out the door, only to run back in looking for my backpack.
But as I grab the handle, I feel what Mom was talking about. That feeling that something’s just started. And I don’t want to stick around to find out, thank you very much.
I shudder, and walk out to the bus.
Maybe today will be better than the brownie-selling future I now have in store.
But I wouldn’t bet my last carton of Smarties ice cream on it. Then I’d just be handing you a weapon.
Savour your freedom.
I look around rather skittishly, if I do say so myself. Hey, at least I’m honest! There’s nobody there.
But still. I could’ve sworn I saw a pair of fiery red eyes, burning with hate.
The bus honks, and I start running. Just my luck, I trip. I pull whatever it is out of the ground, and stare in disbelief. It’s a Popsicle stick, slick with ice cream and demon fire.

Deleted user

It reads to me as appealing to "mundane fantasy" (not exactly magical realism) and has this effect of seeming very light and episodic—like, the main characters didn't eliminate a person, they had a random encounter with a baddie creature.

I think the right reader will stay with it for the content, so I don't know if critique like "Help I need more backstory to care" or "While I like how natural the dialogue sounds, I think there's an over-reliance on dialogue too…" will help.