Chapter 1: Restless

Chapter 1: Restless

A Chapter by Lauren Gray

I have just started writing a horror/suspense story, this is the first chapter to the surreal telling of her night terrors and what they might actually be telling her.


Jane and her tee shirt were covered in a horrified, warm sweat. Her eyelids swung open and came alive, darting around her darkened bedroom. Out came a delayed breath.  The whole of her body was stuck to thick white blankets. She pushed all of the layers with her knees and legs and laid in her cold, wet fear. She knew moments earlier there were steps heading her way. Thick, echoing steps of a man, moving forth in purpose towards her. Pursuing her through the steam that masked his identity.  She was cornered in a stairwell, back against hot cement walls, fists curled in fearful anticipation for his great reveal when she awoke, safe in her sweat. Relief should be coming shortly, soon after she fumbles out of bed to find her ceramic night-light. Abnormal as it is to find comfort in a child’s device, Jane clung to its ability to deteriorate memory of what she had previously felt in the dark.  Her fingers flipped the miniature switch and a silhouette of boats and fish reached across her room, covering most of her bed in soft light, stopping where her head is meant to rest. Maybe she ought to move her bed. She leaves all worry in her bedroom and proceeds down the long hallway. The cool surface of her kitchen tile awakens her fully. Jane fills a small glass with water and nurtures her dried throat. Her large, minimalist apartment looks gigantic at night. The ceilings were built much too high, made as if custom for a 7 ft tall wonder. She was rather petite and thin, and looked like a lost doll wandering someone else’s corridors. Long white counters and cabinets devoid of decoration or personal junk are opposite three large windows spanning a full wall. She stares at them and considers what a plant may look like in her clean apartment. It’s possible some green life could help fill the void that was her entire living space but the thought of scattered dying leaves sleeping on her kitchen floor jolted her back into her personality; she grimaced at the thought. No, there will be no plants. She sits down at her personal sized kitchen table and observes the city street. Directly in front of her sits an unusable factory, only somewhat visible by streetlights. A view she wasn’t superbly thrilled about inheriting but accepted, it had to be better than a full view of the highway and construction, which there was a lot of in this section of the city. Her eye catches interest in a bum standing in front of the factory; he’s waving his hands in front of his chest, reaching for an imaginary something. He laughs drunkenly and falls to the sidewalk. Jane is staring unintentionally; bored by anything else the scene has to offer. She watches the homeless man pat down his body, jaw slacked, searching for an item against his skin and finding nothing. His lower lip connects with his upper and he lifts his face towards her building. He looks straight up, through the glass, into her eyes. They lock gazes, the audience and her subject, as he lifts an accusatory finger and screams a long “YOUUUUUUUU!” Startled by being caught in her voyeuristic activity, she gets up and leaves for her living room couch. “Tomorrow, I buy curtains” she says aloud to no one, but secretly to him.

© 2012 Lauren Gray

Author's Note

Lauren Gray
I wrote this on NO sleep, so be aware of that, any criticism is welcome, did you like it, did you hate it, were you bored, would you carry on to read the next chapter, if not what would make you want to read more? :)

My Review

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I get where you were trying to go with this. The premise is sound enough. I really don't want to come off rude, but all writers (whether would-be, amateur, or professional) must have someone who gives 'em a bit of stiff advice, otherwise there would be little improvement.

One, setting up appropriate paragraphs would help. Two, you need to keep it either past-tense or present-tense. You shifted back and forth a few times in there. For the most part, the formation of your sentences worked fine. Some were even cleverly delivered. You need to work on the character's dialogue. Quotations and their functions aren't particularly tricky, but appropriate usage will dramatically increase the quality.

Tell us about Jane. Leave her dreams aside for a moment and depict the woman-behind-the-night-terrors. In horror, it is best for the reader to be sympathetic with the character. If a reader isn't, there is nothing to really grab onto. No character connection, no reader emotion. No reader emotion, no attachment. No attachment, no story.

I wish you luck and inspiration.

Posted 7 Years Ago

very nicely written. i really like it

Posted 7 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on May 16, 2012
Last Updated on May 16, 2012
Tags: terror, horror, suspense, thriller, dream, nightmare, apartment, story, Jane


Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray

I'm a 20 year old student living on the East Coast. I am certified in holistic health coaching but that isn't what I really want to be doing all my life. I post to tumblr pretty often, so follow me i.. more..