The Eighth Chamber

Days and nights had all been the same since last August. Libby’s mother’s disappearance in the expedition in Egypt, had left a hole in her life that no one else would ever be able to fill. She missed her every single day, her warm hug. Her calm, soothing voice wishing her good night. Libby knew somewhere, her mother was missing her too.
The rain started to fall harder as Libby crossed the road to number eight, Amber Street. A loud crack of a thunder crashed in her ears, bringing her back to reality. The old silver bike almost lost balance and fall into a small bush in the left side of the road. Libby looked up at the sky. It sky had never been so dark. Luckily, she seemed to have anticipated the storm, leaving the small green gate half open in the morning. She ran to the front porch stepping into cool, ankle-deep puddles along the way. Wiping the rain from her eyes, she put hers hand in the side pocket of her backpack looking for the keys. She had the small plush penguin keychain in her hand when a soaked, deep ginger cat peeked out from behind the old rocking chair, jumping in her arms. With her heart hammering, she stepped back before taking a deep breath of relief.
“Oscar! You almost gave me a heart attack,” she said holding the wet cat in her arms as she opened the door.
A soft meow with a purr put a half smile on her face. She stepped into the dark living room, closing the door behind them. The rumble of a thunder made the cat jump off her arms. Even before turning the lights on, she got rid of her soaked blue sneakers, socks and jeans jacket. Following the sound of the heavy rain against the window, she looked out. The storm had turned the day into night in seconds. With lights on, she proceeded into the kitchen. Her long dark hair, drawn back into a ponytail, had dripped water all over the carpet. Hopefully it would dry before her dad came back home on Friday. Libby opened the kitchen cabinet, grabbed a dry towel and wrapped it around her head. By her side, Oscar emitted a louder and longer meow. Staring up at her with big copper-colored eyes as she opened the cupboard her father used to store all the canned food. Libby opened the last can of tuna, pouring half of it into the cat’s bowl. Then she opened the fridge door, placing it in one of the empty shelves. Besides the egg cartoon, the cold water and milk bottle, there was not much left. It reminded her she had to stop at the grocery tomorrow morning. She grabbed the milk from the door, taking a long sip from the bottle. Going upstairs to her bedroom, she turned on the hot shower to warm the room and plugged in her phone. Something wet had touched her. There was Oscar winding himself between her legs. She gently petted his head, and he jumped on her bed, folded his front paws over each other and rested his head on them.
Libby noticed there was something strange attached to his left front paw. It looked like a stone. A small oval-shaped aquamarine color stone. She gently tried to take if off, but it didn’t came out so easy. Libby went back into the foggy bathroom, fill a tall glass with warm water and turned off the shower tap. She dips a small folded hand towel into the warm water, rubbing it in Oscar’s paw as delicate as possible. The cat stretched out his legs, making a soft howl as Libby removed the stone. She opened the small towel with the stone inside. Her mouth hung open and the color drained from her face. The stone glimmered brightly in the palm of her hand.
She would have her shower later.

7 thoughts on “The Eighth Chamber

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hello, This promises to be a very interesting story; I would like to read more to find out about the mother and the stone! As a suggestion, maybe put another detail or two about the stone; possibly another clue about it, in this first chapter and not have so much about the weather and how wet it was.

  2. Nicole L Ochoa says:

    I like how the stone was introduced, maybe get to that point earlier. The writing between the opening and closing paragraphs has a lot of telling, maybe flush it out and add a little more showing to the text. I’m curious about the stone.

  3. Matt says:

    There is a lot of good detail here, but I’m getting lost with the cat and the weather. Is her mother an archeologist? What was she looking for in her expedition? Is her father looking for her? There’s a lot of potential in that opening paragraph. does the girl recognize the stone? Maybe there is an action to tell reader she knows but in a way the reader wouldn’t know what it means yet.

  4. Hades-uftg Tartarus says:

    You have great ideas; and the general story feel is genre-appropriate. The problem is that this scene needs to be more “active” and be more focused. In fiction, movement doesn’t equate action; and description doesn’t equate to details. All that bit about the bike and all that stuff isn’t contributing much to plot or characterization. Rushing home on her bike just so she can get inside it, isn’t interesting. The purpose of this scene seems to be the finding of the stone. I assume–maybe I’m wrong–that the storm has something to do with its activation, if that’s the case then try to build the scene, starting as close as possible to that event–close as possible doesn’t mean right into the scene. For example, you can start the scene with Libby in her mom’s room, looking at a picture of her or something just to impart the info about her mom disappereance in a more “active” way. “I miss you” blah, blah. Then she hears the crackling of thunder and goes to the window to check it out. The storm is raging, The sound on the roof is overwhelming… but Libby loves storms; they reminded her of her mom. She loves them, too. As she’s looking out through the window, when she notices something in the rain (something to do with the story, a strange, maybe a scary-looking figure). She strains to see what it is. Was it a man with a bird’s head beckoning? impossible. She peers harder this time and just when she notices something or the other, she gets startled by Oscar jumping on the window sill. She opens the window and grabs Oscar, cradilng him in her hands. “Naughty cat, where have you been? I’ve been looking all over for you?” As Libby pats her cat, she notices the stone…

    Ideally, an opening scene should start as close as possible to the inciting moment, You spend too much time describing unimportant things:
    “The old silver bike almost lost balance and fall into a small bush in the left side of the road. Libby looked up at the sky. It sky had never been so dark. Luckily, she seemed to have anticipated the storm, leaving the small green gate half open in the morning–this doesn’t make sense–. She ran…
    None of that is plot relevant or interesting.

    She gently tried to take if off, but it didn’t came out so easy. Libby went back into the foggy bathroom, fill a tall glass with warm water and turned off the shower tap. She dips a small folded hand towel into the warm water, rubbing it in Oscar’s paw as delicate as possible. The cat stretched out his legs, making a soft howl as Libby removed the stone. She opened the small towel with the stone inside.

    All those descriptions: “foggy bathroom, tall glass, warm watter… a small folded hand towel… they’re not needed at all. In fact, this doesn’t add anything to the MS in any way. If you’re trying for extending the scene for effect, have the cat running away or something.

    Anyway, I really believe this could be turned into a compelling story. It needs focus, but the ideas are there. Keep it up.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you all for the feedback and the very good ideas to improve the scene. You certainly gave me a lot to think about. 🙂

  6. Bjorn Schievers says:

    I think ‘The disappearance of Libby’s mother during the Egyptian had left a hole in her life that no one else would ever be able to fill’ reads better but that line is very dramatic.

    I would start the story with her entering the house with a storm raging outside.
    Paragraph 1: Something stares at her, then jumps at her, it appears to be her cat. “Oscar, you scared me!”

    Paragraph 2: She immediately notices something between his paws. She takes it.

    Paragraph 3: She examines it.

    I think this is much better suspense, but I feel you should still up it a bit from just a stone in order to hook people. It still feels a bit cliched to me, like the start of an Indiana Jones movie, but that’s not necessarily bad.

    I agree with Hades that too much time is spent describing things that aren’t relevant to the story. We need a big hook. But I do want to know what’s up with this stone! I just need a little more to make this stand out from other similar stories.

    Good luck!!!

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