Critique Group – Roamer

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Roamer – by Emmitt

(Slight profanity removed)

I have stood on the pinnacle of the earth and watched the world around me crumble; Cities sucked into the void, mothers clutching their children close as they try to comfort them before the inevitable end, lovers embracing, trying to stave off the fear of death. I looked over the world and at all the destruction, and yet I couldn’t die.

It had been three years since man reached the so-called apex of technology and evolution. Three years since the discovery of the different dimensions, three years since the coming of the first Roamers and the opening of the gateway.

“Markson!” The stern voice echoed through the forest, recalling memories from long ago.

“Markson!” the voice called again. Jacob emerged through the small patch of trees with

Trinity, his wife, following at a slower pace, half way through her pregnancy, she wasn’t as fit as the others of their race. I jogged over, frozen snow crunching beneath my feet.

“What’s wrong?” I called. The worry on their face was apparent before I reached where they were standing. Trinity was breathing hard, the exertion of the hike to the peak was taxing to a Roamer in their prime, much less a woman in her condition.

“We are suffering a dimensional breakdown.” Jacob replied, his voice was accented with worry, though not as much as appeared on his wife’s face.

“How long?” I tried to keep the apathy from my voice, but it managed to creep in despite my efforts. This was one of many dimensions, as with everything it had a beginning and an end.

“An hour at most, though thirty minutes would be closer to the mark.”

“Where next?” I asked

“We could return back to earth; I have been meaning to return for some time now.”

“Do you understand what’s going on?” Trinity interjected.

“A dimension is breaking down” I said, giving up any pretense of caring. “It hasn’t been the first and it won’t be the last.”

“These are lives, Markson, living people. What changed you from the man I used to know?” Trinity’s breath quickened in the cold, thin air, face reddening with anger. Jacob put a comforting arm over her shoulder. I tried to feel something, anger, fear, sympathy. There was nothing, an empty void, a hollow space where emotion had been drained from my essence, leaving me empty, a vacant shell.

“We have to leave Markson, it is growing steadily worse.”  Jacob interjected, causing

Trinity to turn her angry gaze towards the city. The ground began to shake and crack, stone splitting like dry logs beneath a foresters axe.

“What’s that?” Trinity shouted, Jacob looked across the valley.

“It’s happening.” Jacob muttered, almost to himself. I spun on him.

“What the **** do you mean!?!” There was something in his voice that set me on edge, not so much as what he said but the way he said it. There was fear in every aspect in his countenance, and that more than anything terrified me. Jacob turned to us, face pale “Trinity, Markson, we’re leaving.”

“Why? What’s going on?” Trinity asked.

A cacophony of screams and shattering glass reached us as massive skyscrapers tumbled to the ground, like one of the giants from the old fairytales. A void began to form on the horizon, like a blanket, blotting out the sun. “Markson, Trinity, we leave now!” The urgency in his voice snapped me out of the trance. I turned to follow him, but Trinity grabbed his arm. “What the **** are you playing at Jacob?” I paused, he hadn’t given a clear answer, nor any answer on what he found so terrifying.

“We have to go to The Haven.” His voice quavered as he said this. I finally felt something, a chilling, mortifying fear, creeping through my system, taking my breath away, keeping me from moving forward. The Haven was a dimension that we had discovered in our first year as roamers, it was the only dimension that was almost completely timeless; an eternity could pass by on earth would feel like a century in The Haven, which, from what the tests were saying would be around a quarter of their lives. We were only to go there in the most disastrous situation.

Jacob started to open the gateway, a green light emanated from around his open hands, a kaleidoscope of shapes formed in the air like a fog forming in a cool morning. We jumped through, the vertigo, present with every gateway jump, hit me like a wall, dropping to the ground on the other side. Trinity groaned and Jacob leapt to her side, attempting to help her up but she pushed his hand away, rising on her own. I looked around, we were on a mountain almost identical to the one we stood on just moments before, except the season had changed, now, instead of the dead of winter, spring was just beginning, flowers were blooming across the mountain tops; the buds were forming on the trees. Screams echoed through the valley, shattering the peace.

We ran down the hillside, the ground shattering in large masses; though our enhanced physical abilities allowed us to avoid the obstructions with some ease. We continued our path towards the center of the city. I dodged a falling streetlight, glass shattered around us, the screaming of the populace echoed throughout the city. A woman grabbed at my ankle, tears streaming down her face, I paused, helping her to her feet and she ran off in the opposite direction.

“Markson!” Jacob called. I ran after them, glancing back to see if the woman made it out safely, but she was lost in the crowd. I increased my pace and caught up to them. The center lay just before us, maybe a half mile away. We increased our pace, jumping over the occasional vehicle that blocked our path. We were almost at the center, when a streetlight fell, knocking me to the ground, Jacob had already begun to open the gateway. I looked up, dazed, stumbling to my feet, they had already passed though. I ran towards the gateway, Trinity was shouting, voice muddled by the invisible barrier between dimensions, like someone calling from under water. The portal began to dim, light fading, images from the other side flickering. I lunged towards the gateway in a last attempt to reach the other side, but was met by force that exploded outward with the collapse of the portal. Vision foggy, I looked up, seeing the same darkness spreading across the sky, before blacking out.

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5 replies

  1. Emmitt,

    I like how you gave readers an emotional connection to the characters before introducing the intense action. That allowed us to care about what happened to them.

    Regarding the details, I had a hard time following who was saying what. It wasn’t always clear. Also, there were many times you had a comma instead of a period, and that created run-on sentences. You were also were inconsistent in how you punctuated speaker tags. These errors pulled me out of the story.

    I suggest that you review a punctuation guide, such as this one – Then go back and edit your work.

    After a thorough edit, I would like to see this again. As it stands, there are too many editing errors, which prevents me from providing a detailed critique.

    Overall, this has the makings of a good story. Keep writing!

  2. Wow, nest story concept. Really wanted to keep reading.

    Agree with Bryan on punctuation and run on sentences, as well as the dialogue.

    It was disjointed at times and left me wondering.
    How did Jacob know that there was a dimensional breakdown?
    Why would Trinity ask, ‘Do you understand what’s going on?’ How did she pick up on Markson’s apathy?
    The gate jump to the spring was confusing. Why did they need to run into the city to open another gate?

    All in all, I love the story idea but some editing will really help it flow better.

    • Thanks, and yes I agree, when taken in context of the prologue it’s super confusing. I am still developing the story and a lot of the nuances were going to be explained in the first few chapters. Thank you for the feed back, I am going to edit it using an app this time, so that should keep it more consistent.

  3. Great introduction to an interesting dilemma!! Can’t wait to read the rest. Don’t really have any critiques for you other than what Mr. Davis and Stephanie have given you, but I can’t wait to read the re-submission.

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