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Old January 4th, 2013 (1:14 PM). Edited January 4th, 2013 by Codaq.
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Codaq Codaq is offline
    Join Date: Jan 2013
    Location: Lisbon, Capital of Randomness
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    Dear forum fellows,

    This is my very first fiction to be posted in these boards and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Let me just warn you that this is not a regular FF, so you will encounter a different organization of the chapters and in the structure of the text.
    The first chapter is divided in three, for one main reason: if this FF is not "audience approved" I don't want the whole text to be available for plagiarism. You must be thinking I'm nuts, but let me tell you, forum fellows, that it already happened to me.

    Enjoy your reading!

    The (Un)Covered Truth [PG-13]

    Tape #1#

    26th of June, 1996 - 11.27 a.m.
    The suspect Matthew Johnson Windley, identification number 1587-463/85, held captive on this station for eighteen hours, suspect of the murder of Harriett Florentine Gudger, was summoned for interrogation about the circumstances of the same.
    Detective Windley, this questioning is being recorded and anything you say can be and will be used against you in court. Are you aware of that?


    Very well, then. Where were you two weeks ago, on the night Miss Gudger died?

    I see that you’ve been doing some homework, detective. Though, if you take a look on my latest report, you’ll probably get to the conclusion that Miss Gudger didn’t died two weeks ago. But, two weeks ago, I was probably at my station, filling a report about her death.

    At your station writing a report? That’s curious… No one saw you in the station on that night. We’ve heard everyone that works with you and they said that you left the station by 6.00 p.m.

    In fact, I did leave the station by that hour. I went home to relax a bit, before I return to my work on the case, but I ended up sleeping and woke up by 10.30 p.m. Then I went back to the station to complete my report, but by that time everyone had already left work. That’s why none of them saw me.

    Not even the janitor?

    I didn’t see him that night. Maybe you should be questioning him instead of me.

    Maybe we’ve already questioned him and maybe he said that you weren’t there by the time you said you were. I will ask for the last time, detective: where were you on the night Miss Gudger died?

    I’ve already answered: I was in my station, filling that damn report! The janitor wasn’t there, I guarantee you. If he had been, the bins would be empty the morning after.

    And they were not?

    No. I spent all my night filling that report, because Captain Weitzer wanted me to hand it over the morning after. From the moment I went back to my desk, until I handed over the report, the bins were full of trash; no one cleaned them. But now that I think about it, is odd that Mr. Lopez didn’t clean the bins… That’s the first thing he does when arrives.

    Are you suggesting that the janitor missed work and lied to us about not seeing you that night?

    No. That is a conclusion of your own, detective.

    In the last report, you’ve wrote that the torn body of the victim was covered with a sticky substance, probably honey. Did you taste it?

    Well… I usually don’t taste dubious substances from the corpses, if that answers your question.

    You should taste them, then. It wasn’t honey; it was tree sap.

    That makes absolutely no sense! The victim was torn apart during some kind of fight with a large animal. She had scratches all over her body, and the house was full of them too. It must have been a large and fierce animal that kill her, after someone dumped the substance all over her body. She lived near the forest, so it’s probable that an angered bear entered the house after felling the scent of the substance she was carrying, causing it to attack her. But tree sap?... Tree sap only attracts bugs and smaller stuff that don’t have claws and strength to torn in half a human.

    Maybe the bears began liking tree sap. Maybe the fact that bears like honey is nothing but a myth created by the movies. I don’t know and I don’t even care about that. But I want to know is what gives you so certainty to say that someone dumped that stuff over Miss Gudger’s living body.

    I’m not sure of that! Are you forcing me to say that I’ve killed that woman?

    That's a conclusion of your own, detective. You stated that someone dumped the sap over Miss Gudger’s body, but you didn’t write that in your reports. Are you eating that much cheese? It seems that you forgot to mention something to your Captain, namely a key theory about the modus operandi of her killer. It is clear to me that you’re trying to cover something, detective. Or someone…


    Preface by the author

    Dear reader,
    If you just listened to the tape attached to the back cover of this book, you are a person that reads the very first sentence of every book. I congratulate you for that. There are not many people in this world that lose their time reading and interpreting the very first sentence of a book, before they dive into the true history the book tell. I’m flattered for that and I thank you as an author. There aren't many authors that care about this and admit it so, you should be flattered and thank me too.
    What you just listened to, was one of the several questionings that a detective of Corlake performed in order to solve the mysterious death of Harriett Gudger. At this point is normal that you ask yourselves who the hell Harriett Gudger is and why is Detective Windley a suspect in her case. Unfortunately, dear reader, I can’t provide you the answers, because I do not know them. All that I know is that, somehow, in the year of 1990 some mysterious occurrences began to take part in the history of Corlake Town. These events weren't classified as paranormal or extraterrestrial, so don’t expect this book to be about how green humanlike ETs and extraterrestrial parasites killed thousands of human beings in an invasion maneuver. On the contrary, these events do not have a specific pattern of occurrence and not always produce the same result. If so, we could expect when they would occur and what the outcome would be, saving those dozens of people that got murdered by these odd happenings.
    Well, I guess you’re sick of reading my theories about what meaning these occurrences may have, but bore not, dear reader, I was just settling the mood to explain you the core of this book you are reading. You can find it on the backcover, but I will transcribe it to here, so as not to disturb your reading.

    You’ve probably never heard about Corlake Town. I’m not surprised with that. It’s not a popular place and has nothing of charming or interesting to be publicized for, so it’s normal that you didn’t hear about it. But, then why do you have a book about it in your hands and are reading it? I give you the answer: Corlake Town is still a very uncharming and boring place, but since the events began, the town isn’t the same and someone thought that it could be a good idea to promote those histories. No, dear reader, I’m not talking about me. The stories that you’ll read in this pages were written by an anonymous person that uncovered the truth behind every event that happened in Corlake. I just compilled them and wrote this preface for you not to be so unaware of who wrote what.

    I must warn you, dear reader, that some of these stories may be unsuitable for bedtime reading, but you do whatever you wish.
    With that said, please turn the page over, to uncover the...
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    Old January 4th, 2013 (1:17 PM).
    Codaq's Avatar
    Codaq Codaq is offline
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      First Event – The Swamp Thing

      When I arrived to Corlake Town for the first time, there was one thing that caught my attention: the lake. Although it’s not as deep and big as Nessie’s lake, it has a considerable depth. And I’m not talking about physical depth; I’m talking about the depth of its existence, of its presence. Once you get to know it, you’re caught up in an invisible orb that makes you feel even more attracted. One might think that the lake is mesmerizing, but that is an understatement. The muddy water, curling at each breeze; the moss in the margins, accomplice of the lake in taking so many unwary lives that slippered into the water; the mist that isolates it from the outside world, creating a world of its own; the evergreeness of the trees that once graced that world… I can almost feel myself walking again around the margins, slippering once and while on the damp moss, inhaling that moisty air that filled my lungs with so many hopes. Back then, that lake was my source of faith, of hope, of passion. It watched me walk, run, fall, think, write, laugh, cry, ask my wife in marriage and walk with my two daughters. That lake was part of me; the part that keeps our memories alive and we fall back on when we lose our reality. But this is more about the lake than about me. The story I am about to tell here is about the first event that I assisted in Corlake Town, the one that started it all and how it changed entirely the course of my life.

      It was the year of 1987 and I was starting my career in the police department of Corlake. I was a young and promising officer, still fresh from my years in the academy, and like every other young man, I had it all: strength, vitality, ambition and loads of testosterone that filled my soul with courage. Back in the academy I was very successful at every level and because of that my mentor, Captain Gills, pulled some strings and made me end up filling a “vacancy” on Corlake’s police station, where I would receive a very nice wage for a newbie. It was icing on the cake and for three years my career and personal life were the dream of every rookie officer. Until the day they found that men’s corpse floating on the lake.

      Since my first day in Corlake’s station, all that I did was to assist my captain in his cases and fill those nasty reports with the details that the crime scene agents provided. Didn’t I say that I received a “very nice wage for a newbie”? Now, you see why. I wasn’t a detective or a crime scene agent, so my work was simply spending the day filling reports about wives that stabbed their husbands because they suspected they were cheating them, or kids that punched each other because they were from different races. As you can imagine, Corlake is not a big town – you’ve probably never heard of it… – and therefore there were no big murders to solve or serial killers to track. Just ******** crimes. But that day was different…

      It was a sunny winter day of February and, as always, I went to work by foot, since my building was fairly close the police station - maybe a mile or two apart? There was no one on the streets, so it was quite quiet. And isn’t that the dream of every cop? To wake up, go to work and find that every single street of the town is peacefully silent? Mine was.

      But then, while I enjoyed the deep quietness of the town and when I least expected anything to occur, something rammed me, causing me to fall against the poorly paved floor. All that I could think about was the immaculately uniform that gave me so much work to clean and iron!

      «I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, Mr. Officer!», a man apologized himself, while he tried to get up from the floor and help me getting up too, «I had…», a breath, «… to run…», another breath, «… to inform you that…», the man’s head was turning into violet by that time, «… that... there is a man floating on the water!»

      I still remember the fear that ran through his tears, when he shouted those words. I asked him to calm down a little, because I didn’t knew what to do and that was the only idea that I had, in order to gain some time to think about what to do next. My first thought was to run towards the station and tell the first detective I stumbled upon what the man just told me, but that would be the most coward attitude for a police officer to have. Instead, I ran to the lake, with him in my heels (yes, he was nearly choking), hoping that my silliness didn’t turn me in a frightened chicken being carried to the fox’s lair. It could be a trap, after all. How many ways are there to lure a police officer than to appeal to his duty in a calm and silent morning? Tell one that a corpse is floating on the nearby lake and you just set the best trap of all.

      But it wasn’t a trap. When we arrived at the lake, wheezing and gasping ourselves to death, there was no man floating. Not even a leg or an arm! Just muddy and rusty waves of water that soaked our feet as soon as we step the evergreen moss. I looked at the man and he rapidly realized what my thoughts were.

      «There was a man floating on the water!», he shouted, hopping that the imaginary floating man came out from his hideout.

      «Maybe you saw nothing but a branch.», I said.

      «No, no, no!», replied him, shaking his head vigorously, while he stomped the floor, searching for an hatch or something where the man could be hiding from us, «It was there! Right there!», he pointed to a part of the shore, where the land was somewhat different from the one we were standing on.

      «It looks like it forms a kind of swamp over there.», I stated, while walking carefully towards the area that the man pointed and trying not to slipper in the moisty moss. That uniform was sufficiently dirty and I didn’t want to muddy it up even more. I tested the area by trampling the boggy soil and felt my shoe being trapped in melted chocolate mud. That was no secure soil to be steping; one false step and I would find myself drowning in melted chocolate, not to mention my precious and delicate uniform being all mucked up. «Yeah, it’s definitely a swamp, over here.», I declared loudly so that the man could hear me, «But I still find no corpse.»

      And when I looked again to the place where I left the man alone, there was no one there. I blinked my eyes one time, two, three, four, five, but there was still no man. I moved towards the place where he was supposed to be, but saw no marks or footprints; that man simply vanished from the face of the Earth. Hit me with a bolt if what I’m saying is not the truth! There was absolutely no damn man!
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      Old January 5th, 2013 (11:02 AM).
      Cutlerine Cutlerine is offline
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        Ave! Since this is, as you say, your first foray into the fanfiction forums here on PC (I can never resist that alliteration), allow me to welcome you on board. I hope you enjoy your stay; here, you'll find plenty of sensible people writing and reviewing stories, and also me.

        Anyway, your story caught my eye mostly because of the place name 'Corlake', which for some reason excites my interest. I can't explain it, but it led me in, and I'm quite glad it did; it looks like quite an intriguing little conspiracy you're constructing here, and that's never a negative from my point of view.

        I'm going to get a few grammatical and syntactical points out of the way first, before I move onto my main thoughts on this piece. Firstly, writers in the English language do not use guillemets for punctuating dialogue, as you do here:

        «There was a man floating on the water!»
        While I know guillemets are the norm in many languages, and in others are interchangeable with quotation marks, in English only quotation marks can be used to enclose direct speech like that. Also, while on the subject of dialogue, I came across sentences like this quite often:

        «There was a man floating on the water!», he shouted, hopping that the imaginary floating man came out from his hideout.
        The exclamation mark within the quotation mark (or guillemet, in this case) means that you don't require the comma outside it. All punctuation for direct speech should be contained within the quotation marks.

        «Maybe you saw nothing but a branch.», I said.
        Same applies here, but that full stop should be a comma. If the sentence continues after the direct speech finishes, use a comma rather than a full stop.

        There are also a few cases of word confusion or awkward phrasing scattered here and there, such as this:

        in taking so many unwary lives that slippered into the water
        You mean 'slipped', not 'slippered'; the two words are similar but with very different meanings. There are a couple of other instances of this sort of confusion; I'll whip through the ones I noticed as quickly as I can.

        that would be the most coward attitude for a police officer to have.
        'Cowardly', the adjective, is needed here instead of 'coward', the noun.

        I tested the area by trampling the boggy soil and
        'Trampling' really means to repeatedly stomp on something with the intention of destroying it or doing it harm; it's a bit of an aggressive action to take here. While your rich use of language is, I must confess, something of a bonus for me (more of that anon) I think here it might be better to stick to a more conventional description - perhaps simply saying that your protagonist tested the soil with a foot, or tested his weight on it, or something like that.

        There are also a few cases where you've used the wrong preposition with a verb. For instance:

        When I arrived to Corlake Town for the first time,
        'Arrive' works only with 'at', so this should read:

        When I arrived at Corlake Town for the first time,
        my silliness didn’t turn me in a frightened chicken
        Should be:

        my silliness didn’t turn me into a frightened chicken
        And so on. But these are minor points, little grammatical or syntactical blips that matter comparatively little in the grand scheme of things. I'm more interested in the idea behind the story - and, while that idea at present remains fairly inscrutable, I'm definitely interested to see how it develops. The interview at the start is a classic introduction technique, and one you pulled off pretty well; it grabs the attention and forces the reader to keep going, if only because it's incredibly annoying not knowing what actually happened. The little cover note was a nice touch too; it did a lot to create the atmosphere you're building up here, and the tone it established, together with your evident relish of rich description, really got me interested. I'm a big Nabokov fan, and there's something about the combination of metaphor-heavy language, rich imagery and hints of future disaster that always puts me in mind of his inimitable prose style; that's a personal reaction and not one you'd get from most readers, but the mere suggestion of it was enough to drag me into the story and want to find out more.

        OK, so that was a digression; you may, should you so desire, ignore that rambling about Nabokov - it isn't really helpful for you, simply a description of my reaction, and what I'm trying to do here is constructive criticism (which by its nature must be helpful), so I'll say no more about it. Moving on to the 'First Event', as you style it, I have to say it's a good story but it takes place very, very fast. For a moderately swift reader, the key event - the disappearing man - loses some of its impact due to the speed at which the information passes through the head; perhaps consider slowing down the pace a little, allowing both reader interest and the suspense to build before reaching the lake scene. I don't mean you should stuff it with pointless filler, but if it were just slightly longer, I feel the ending would hit the reader that much harder, and when your story is based around an 'unusual event' as yours is, the harder the impact of that event the better.

        That said, the introduction lingers in the head while you're reading that, and it keeps the interest going. What exactly will happen next? Come to think of it, what exactly is happening now? Those are the questions flitting through the reader's mind at that point, and those are precisely the questions that should be flitting through the reader's mind, so well done there. You're doing it right. A little polishing around the edges, and I think this story could well rise to greater heights.

        I'm also enjoying the voice of your protagonist, actually; though with a piece of text this short there hasn't been much scope to see it at its best, it's definitely quite engaging, and I'm fairly certain it will get more so with further development.

        Anyway, you've caught my interest and that means you're on the right track with this. I look forward to seeing where you take this tale in future. Good luck, and may your fingers be as swift on the keyboard as the thoughts that wing through your imagination.


        For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click here.
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