Before the fallen

Before the fallen

A Chapter by Eli_Wolf-Queen

Chapter 1


Chapter 1


The last thing I remember of my family is when I walked into the living room, and I saw their dead bodies lying in pools of their blood. I let out a small scream and sink to my knees. Who would do this? I put my head in my hands and begin to cry softly. After 30 minutes of straight crying, I look up and lift my face out of my hands. I sniff and wipe my nose with the back of my tear soaked hands and stand up. I see my little sister on her back staring up at the ceiling. She was still in her dress she was going to wear for her first day at the Vampire Academy today. I gently pick up Liz and walk to her bedroom. Seeing that her bed made perfectly makes me want to cry again, but I have to stay strong. I gently set Liz down in her bed close her eyes and put her hands in an X formation on her chest. She was only 17. Well, she looked 17 since she was turned into a Vampire when she got into a car accident on the highway. I remember that day as if it was yesterday.


Mom was in the car with Liz. Dad was getting off work and was driving to the hospital. I was getting a soda from the vending machine when my dad finally got to the hospital.

The man in the other car was alive, granted at the time we didn’t know he was a vampire till he came later to the hospital. He got out of the car and went to Mom and Liz, who was unconscious in their vehicle. The man bites on Liz’s neck and Mom’s wrist, injecting them with his venom to make them into vampires. I've heard that the changing process is painful. But I don’t think they felt a thing when it happened though they didn’t have enough venom to fix all of their broken bones.

“What happened? Are your mother and sister ok?” My dad asked as he came over to me to where I was standing with a cold soda in my hand.

“They were in a car accident on the highway. A crazy psycho was coming straight towards them, and Liz was talking with mom, and she looked the other way to see what she was talking about when the car made a head-on collision with Liz and Mom’s car.” I stammer as Dad looks at the soda in my head and sighs.  

“Yeah, they just got out of surgery. Mom and Liz are in the same room too. Down the hall and take a left until you get to room 190.” I say as I walked down the hall and took a left. I continued to walk until I made it to room 190. Dad walked into the room and saw Liz and Mom sitting up talking. “Hey girls. How are you feeling?” Dad asked and pulled up a chair in between both of their beds.

“I’m feeling fine dad,” Liz replies and holds his hand with a small snarl tone in her voice.

“We’re fine honey. It was just a small crash.” Mom says as she smiles down as Dad sits into the chair.  

“I have to go back to work. I need to bring Zee with me.” Dad says as he stands and looks at his watch.

“Ok….” I say and take the last sip of my soda. I throw the can in the recycling as we walk out of the room following close behind him. We get out to the car and get in as he starts the ignition.

As we pull up, I look around with a confused expression. I’ve never been to this place. We pull into a parking space and get out. I breathe in the sweet-smelling air and close my car door. My Dad walks up to a broken down building.

“Why are we here? It’s just a broken down building.” I say as I walk up behind him.

“You only see what we want you to see,” Dad replies as he takes something out and writes a symbol on the side of his arm. I look over his shoulder and see that it looks like an eye. He then puts his arm that he had drawn on, onto the boarded up door. “Mike ego Goldscar, terra sancta peto legitur,” Dad says and looks up at the door. I’ve never heard anyone speak that language before.

“What did you say, dad?” I ask as he pulls his hand off the door.

“‘I am Mike Goldscar, and I request passage to this holy ground,’” Dad says and smiles down at me.

Granted, I do live in Nebraska, and we don’t get new people here from other places from across the world. The door opens slowly, and my Dad pulls me into the building. I look around, and the ceiling isn’t broken or falling apart or anything.

“Wow! How did you do that? What is this place?” I say in amazement, while I spin around the foyer.

“This is where the Shadowhunters live or work really. There is something I haven’t told you or your mother or sister…… But I’m a Shadowhunter.” Dad says as he puts his stick thingy away in his pocket.

“How? What are those anyway? What do they do?” I ask and look at him.

“You will be taught as soon as they can train you. So be patient little one, and you will learn all of the secrets I have discovered over the time I have as a Shadowhunter.” Dad says and starts walking down the long hallway to a set of double doors made out of cherry wood.

I blink my eyes as I return to reality. I sigh and walk back to where my Dad and Mom lay. I wipe my eyes with my fingertips and grab my father underneath his armpits and gently start to drag him to his bedroom where my mother and he sleep.

“You need to keep your arms strong. Core strong, everything strong!” My combat teacher Austin, says and he pokes and prods at my body.

“Just shove off, why don’t ya,” I grumble underneath my breath. But I guess Austin heard me because he suddenly had a sword at my throat.

“Watch your tone. I don’t have to train you even though your father is my boss and the head of the Institute.” He says as he takes the blade away and puts it back in the sheath across his back. I roll my eyes and put my staff away.

“What are you doing? Pick that staff back up right now. We aren’t done practicing. Or do I have to get your father in here again?” He asks as he looks down at me.

“I don’t care you aren’t my father, and you never will be. I’d rather die before you teach me anything else in combat training.” I snap back and look up at him with a glare in my eyes. His face wavers a little but keeps his composure.

“You will pick up that staff again, and you will practice until I deem you worthy enough to stop practice with the staff and onto a different weapon.” He growls and punches me in the stomach. I go flying backward and hit the punching bag with my back. I groan and push myself off of it and run at him. I jump into the air, and Austin steps to the side as I land on the ground.

“You must use that anger in your fighting set. Use it, and it will help you in the long run in the oncoming battles with Vampires.” He says as he steps in front of me and pushes me. I huff and punch him in the jaw. He stumbles backward aways and holds his jaw.

“How’s that for using my anger then?” I ask as I jump front kick him in the stomach. He falls on his back from the momentum and sighs.  I pounce on him and start punching him repeatedly in the nose and face. He shoves me off of him and jumps on me. I growl and spit in his face.

“Get off of me! You idiot!” I growl and start squirming underneath him.

“Not until you surrender.” He says and pins my hands above my head. I glare at him and spit in his bloodied and bruising face.

“Why did I have to get stuck with training you?” He mumbles under his breath and releases my hands. He gets up and off of me and walks over to where the towels are. I see my chance and take it. I jump onto his back, and he grabs onto the table where the sheets are.

”What are you doing? Here to suck up to me and make me continue to train you?” He chuckles and looks over his shoulder. I glare at him and put him into a choke hold. His eyes widen, and he tries to get me off of him by hitting my back against the table’s corner. I grunt but keep my choke hold tight on him.

“Now you listen to me, idiot. I will not be training with you anymore, and I will go to my father for the harassment and the way you look at me give me the creeps. So I would like you to stop and if you do look at me remember this and how I beat your a*s in hand to hand combat.” I snarl and release my hold on his neck and get off of him. I start to walk out as he comes up behind me and grabs my hand.

“Look, I’m sorry for how hard I pushed you. But if I must tell you how I feel about you, then I will. The only reason I picked for this job was your father. He wanted someone that you knew to train you so you would pick up the training. I was trying to make you learn. I now know that you do what you want. And I can’t help but admire that.” He says as he blushes.

“If you’re trying to tell me that you like me then I guess you’re out of luck because I’m not looking for a relationship right now. So go away and let go of my hand or I’ll punch you in the face again.” I snap and yank my hand away from his grip, walking to the

door. I look back as I open the door and see his shoulders sag with sadness and rejection. But what else could I do? He was a creep, and I'm not dating that even if I die. I walk out of the training room and run down the halls to my dad’s office. I knock on my dad’s door, and it opens instantly. I walk in and sit in one of the chairs.

“I don’t think I can do this anymore. I hate my trainer, and he just told me that he likes me. Didn’t you tell me that was bad luck to fall in love with one of your students?” I ask and run a hand through my tangled hair.

“You can still do this. You had more spunk than I ever had when I learned I was a Shadowhunter. And as for your trainer, I will talk to him after we are finished speaking. I never said it was bad luck I just said it wasn’t wise for the teacher to fall in love with the student because if the student or the teacher die than they are both sad that they lost the one they loved. Just be careful around him. He is still in training as you are. He doesn’t know what is right from wrong yet. Just give it some time, and if he is still bothering you, then I will train you. Sounds like a deal?” He says as he stacks a few papers on his desk.

I shake my head and stand up. I wince when I stretch my arms above my head. I remember how he rammed my back into the tabletop corner. My dad looks up and walks over to me. He lifts the back of my shirt and sees a bruise blossoming just slightly above one of my kidneys. He lets go of the sweater and grumbles something inaudible under his breath as he walks by me to go back to his desk. I walk to the door and put my hand on the doorknob.

“Thank you for listening Dad. I love you, and I’ll see you at home.” I say and open the door and slip through it closing the door.


I blink my eyes and return to the present. That was the last thing I said to Dad before I came home. I gently set him on the bed and put him in the same position as my sister is. I walk back to where my mother is and sigh.

“The last one to put to rest,” I say and pick her up as I did with my dad.

I drag her a little faster than I did my Dad because she only drinks blood and doesn’t eat any human foods unless we have company over. I don’t have any good memories with my mother. But the one time and the only good memory is when she taught me how to cook.


I was chopping up vegetables into small tiny chunks and putting them into the giant pot of broth. My mom walks into the kitchen and takes a deep breath with her head over the pan.

“It smells good Zee. Let me taste the broth and see if you seasoned it correctly.” Mom says and picks up a spoon. She dips it in the broth and blows on the small sip that is on her spoon. She sips the concoction and smacks her lips softly.

“Tastes ok. I’ll add a few dashes of salt and pepper, there. Taste it now.” She says and dips the spoon in again and blows on it for me. I sip the broth slowly and smile.

“That tastes amazing Mom. Thank you.” I say and slide the vegetables in the broth stirring it gently. Then, I begin to take the chicken breast out of the package and set it on the cutting board. My mom cups her hands over her mouth and slowly walks out of the kitchen. I finish cutting the chicken into small little chunks and slide them into the broth as well.

“You ok Mom?” I say and wash the cutting board and knife in the sink.

“Yes, I’m fine just had a little accident with something.” Mom replies and dries the cutting board and knife as I wash my hands. That night we had a fantastic meal of chicken noodle soup. But I think that she was trying to hide the fact that she was turned into a vampire and wanted to eat the raw chicken before it went into the soup.


But I smile at the memory and gently set my mom in the bed next to my Dad. I position her the same way as Dad and Liz. I sigh and dial my best friends number. The phone rings for two whole minutes when Levina answers.

“What’s up? I just got out of Biology.” Levina says.

“I came home after I got off of work and I found me……” I say, but my voice trails off.

“I’ll be there right now. I’m bored outta my mind anyway, so I’ll be right over.” Levina says and hangs up. I go to the bathroom and start to wash off the drying blood. Ten minutes later there is a knock on the door. I walk down the steps from the bathroom and to the front door. I open the door and see Levina standing there with her book bag and computer.

“Come on inside. You don’t need to be getting a cold now.” I say and open the door wide enough for her to come in but not enough for the rain to go into the house.

“Thanks. So, what’s up? What did you need to tell me that you couldn’t talk over the phone?” Levina asks and starts to take off her coat and boots. She sets her backpack on the ground with her computer.

“My…….my parents and sister were dead when I came home. I came home and saw them in a pool of their blood.” I say and wipe the tears from my eyes and sniff.

“How?! How did they die? What happened to them?!” Levina asks and walks over to me and pulls me into a hug.

“I don’t know how they died. I got home after work; my whole family was dead. Laying in a pool of their blood,” I whisper into her shoulder and hug her back.

“I’m sorry Zee. Is there something that I can do?” Levina asks and pulls away from the hug.

“Yeah, can we go somewhere, please? I need to get something and talk to someone I know that is there,” I say and walk over to the coat rack and slip my grey waistcoat and black waterproof boots on.

“Pack up your stuff; we’ll be gone awhile,” I say and run upstairs to start packing a couple of bags to take with me.

I grab my backpack and a duffel bag. I fill the duffel bag with clothes and girly items of importance. I pack my Steele in the front pocket of my jeans. I grab the guns that are in the back of my closet, under my bed, and in my dresser into the duffel bag and the backpack. I look around for anything that I missed and sigh. It's my last time I’ll be in this house. I pick up a photo of my family and put them in the backpack underneath the clothes so it won’t break upon impact.

“Are you ready to go yet? I have everything I need in your car since I’m guessing that’s the car we’re taking.” Levina yells up the stairs.

“Yes, thank you. I’m on my way downstairs now. Go out to the car.” I yell back. Then I zip up the bags and swing the duffel over one shoulder and the backpack on the other shoulder.

I walk down the stairs and towards the front door. Looking around, I sigh. I run out to my car and dump the duffel and backpack in the backseat and get into the front seat. Levina sits in the passenger seat, ready to go and seatbelted. I turn the keys in the ignition, and the engine starts. I back out of the driveway slowly getting closer to the street. I get onto the road and start driving towards the Institute.

© 2019 Eli_Wolf-Queen

My Review

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You're working hard on your writing, and that's good, but there are several things that leapt out at me (and would for an agent or acquiring editor) that would cause a quick rejection, so I thought you would want to know.

It's not a matter of good/bad writing or talent, so it's fixable, though.

First: You're trying to make the writing more immediate by using both first person and present tense. Neither change anything, because those tenses are used only by the author, explaining what's happening instead of making the reader live it.

Is there really any difference between:
"The last thing I remember of my family is when I walked into the living room, and I saw their dead bodies lying in pools of their blood," and: "The last thing Zee remembers of her family is when she walked into the living room, and she saw their dead bodies lying in pools of their blood." ?

The same person walks into the same room and sees the same thing. In both cases, we are NOT in her viewpoint. Instead, someone not on the scene is talking ABOUT it. Does it matter if that someone is the author acting as narrator or the author pretending to be the character at some unknown time after the events? Telling is telling, no matter the personal pronouns you use. As a minor point to think about: by using first person we don't learn the character's name, or, gender for several pages.

Of more importance, you're using far too many words, which slows the narrative and dilutes the impact. Look at the opening:

"The last thing I remember of my family is when I walked into the living room, and I saw their dead bodies lying in pools of their blood,

Twenty-eight words, laboriously detailing things that can be told with a lot more impact in fourteen.

• Do we really need to know that the protagonist walked? Isn’t walking how most people get around the house?
• Do we need “The last thing I remember of my family,” when “My last family memory,” says the same thing in half the words?
• Do we have to explain that the protagonist used her eyes—saw—if it’s a memory? Isn't that inherent?
• Do we need to explain whose blood it is, or that they’re dead. Doesn’t lying on the floor all bloody, combined with it being the last memory, pretty much say they’re dead?

So, take out the fat and you have:

“My last family memory is discovering their bloody bodies on the living room floor.”
- - - -
There’s more that could be done, but put that aside, because there’s something of far more importance. With this first paragraph you’ve dramatically reduced the reader’s need to continue, which guarantees a rejection. Why? Because we-know-what’s-going-to-happen. Why would you take the joy of discovery from a reader? That’s what they’re with you for, the excitement of LIVING the story, not reading the words of a narrator who’s talking about it in a voice that can’t be heard by the reader.

And look at what else you’re doing. You open the story with the title: "Zeenat," a word meaningless to the reader when they read it. Most will probably assume it’s the name of the planet, or city. Never forget that your intent doesn’t make it to the page. All the reader has is what the words you choose suggest to THEM as-they-read, based on what they’ve already read of the story and their background, not yours.

Then you use 206 words, or most of a standard manuscript page (250 words), to talk about things meaningless to the reader at that point. You describe her carrying her sister, for example. But if you found your family dead would you do that? Would you be that calm? Or would you immediately call for help? Would you stay in the house where they were killed, or get out of there before it’s your turn? Sure, there may be perfectly good reasons why she does what she does, but none that make sense to the reader, as-they-read. And those readers are the ones you wrote this for, remember? Confuse them on page one and they won’t turn to page two.

So you begin with the narrator talking about things that happened in the past: memories. Then, you turn to things that happened before that first memory, and do it in overview. Where are we in time and space? Dunno.Who are we? You give no hint. What's going on? I have no idea.

Simply put: Start the story where the story starts. Don't talk ABOUT it, and don’t try to get “arty.” Story happens, and does so in real-time, not overview. Every place where you explain things to the reader is another rejection-point.

The short version: We do NOT learn how to write fiction in our school days. We learn only nonfiction writing skills. Remember all those book reports and essays you were assigned? That was to teach the nonfiction writing skills our future employers want us to have. How much time did your teachers spend on the structure of a scene on the page? None, right? So, how can you write a scene a publisher will like if you don’t know what one is? How can you place the short-term scene-goal into play if you don’t know there should be one, or what it does?

Try to use the nonfiction skills we sere given, when trying to write fiction, and no matter how hard you work it can’t work.

I know that’s terrible news, and not something anyone wants to hear, but pretty much all of us leave our school days with the same misunderstanding. So you have a LOT of company—not that it makes it any easier. Still, it can be fixed by picking up the tricks-of-the-trade. Is that work and study you weren’t expecting to have to do? Of course. But EVERY profession requires training, so it’s no big deal. I’d written six unsold novels before I learned it. And once I’d corrected the problem the next novel I queried for sold. So with luck and study… But here’s the thing: If you are meant to be a writer the learning will be fun. And if not, you’ve learned something important. Win/win, right?

Your local library’s fiction-writing section is filled with books on writing technique, written by successful writers, publishing pros, and noteworthy teachers. Take advantage of that to “pick their brains.” You may not always agree with their advice, but you know it worked for them.

My personal suggestion is to invest in a copy of Debra Dixon’s, GMC: Goal Motivation & Conflict, from any online bookseller. It won’t make a pro of you. That’s your job. But it will give you the toosl to do it with, if it’s in you. And that’s the best we can hope for.

So start digging. For a feel for the areas and issues you need more knowledge in, you might want to read a few of the articles in my writing blog. They’re meant for the hopeful writer in your situation.

But whatever you decide to do, hang in there, and keep on writing.

Jay Greenstein

Posted 4 Years Ago

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Added on April 30, 2019
Last Updated on April 30, 2019



Hastings, NE

I enjoy watching the sunset and the sunrise. I enjoy staying home rather than going out and partying with people I don't know. And I enjoy watching television shows that interest me. more..