The Black Rocks

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« on: 04:29:43 PM 04/21/18 »
The only thing to really know about my town is that it is called Luxerra. If you were to look at the history book, not that many would mention Luxerra, the first recorded mention of our town was that of Lux-Terra or, in English, land light. The only thing my town was made for was the lighthouse and that has persisted to this day.

Anywhere you go in the town, you can see that damn lighthouse. If you are sitting in The Outskirt, the furthest pub in Luxerra, you will be able to see the ancient bricks. The thing is even when I was an adult, I was never in The Outskirt or any pub in town. Even as a teenager, I really didn't drink and just spent most of my time on the beach, simply taking in the ocean. I hated the smell of the ocean but I loved the sights and I would drag my friends down, letting them take in the sights with some company. Even without people, you still had company on the beach in the form of rats. Rats would swarm the beach in search of littered fast food and dropped sandwiches. They scurried over the black rocks of the beach, chewing on Kentucky-fried bones. If you stayed awake long enough and let midnight roll around, you could eventually see the lighthouse guard.

He was some poor worker that had to live in the lighthouse but basically got paid nothing because he had heating and housing. With the pennies he was paid, he basically only brought booze and headache medicine. At around midnight, he would stagger onto the balcony with a loaded flare gun to the music of scuttling rats, drop his arm over the handrail, and shoot blindly down at the rocks. The red light would cast the rats' shadow across the sand, dousing the yellow beach with a crimson hue. The black rats would scurry and squeak in pain, disappearing into the night shadows. If you looked out of your window towards the sea, you would see that red flare burst every night like a clock. The drunk guard would stagger like a well-oiled clock and always mark the midnight hour with a steady burst of red light.

So, when I was finishing high school, it acted as an advent calendar. Every burst of red flame made me a little bit closer to a few months of freedom until college. As the day got closer, everyone I knew collected booze and tried to make excuses. We were all going to meet on the beach for a party, the last party we would ever have as friends. All of us were going to different colleges and most likely, none of us would ever see each other again. So, we were trying to make the last time we saw each other special. As most of us collected booze, Robert stole wood from his father's farm and Francis basically stockpiled lighter fluid. A big beach bonfire to burn down some boyhood bridges, it sounded perfect.

On the last day of school, we all went home and collected our supplies, dragging them back to the beach at eleven. I had boxes of beer that I stole from my dad, Robby had whiskey that his dad gave him, Melissa brought wine, and the rest of them were free-loading on our alcohol. The only ones I were really happy with were Richard and Peter who dragged planks and lighter fluid to the beach.

We spent about an hour just drinking and building the bonfire, dropping pieces on top of each other. As I drank supermarket whiskey with one hand and moved a plank with my other hand, I felt something spray the back of my neck. Dropping the plank, I turned and saw Robert holding lighter fluid, squeezing it down. I tried to chew him out for what he was doing but he quickly ran off, splashing other people with it. Quickly, I pumped myself with whiskey and socialized him with the other people at the parties. We eventually built up the bonfire enough and we were trying to find the lighter, attempting to remember who actually had the lighter. I looked over at the lighthouse and saw the shadows of people playing on the black rocks, dancing around like chimpanzees. At the roots of the black rocks, the fat rats suddenly darted across the yellow sands away from the drunk teenagers. Following the rats for a moment, I looked from them to the top of the lighthouse. The drunk guard suddenly burst through the door and staggered onto the balcony.

In my drunken mind, I couldn’t remember why he was staggering onto the balcony. My thoughts swam as I sleepily thought of answers until he revealed the bright red flare gun. As he threw his limp arm over the rail, I remembered and he pulled the trigger. The crimson light shot down along the ancient wall, lighting the primitive white paint, and slammed into the black rock. The red flare suddenly into a yellow inferno, casting the rock and two teenage friends into a blaze. Their long shadows were cast along the beach and as the fire burned away their clothes and skin, their shadows were eaten away too. They screamed, their voices squeaking and twanging as their vocal chords warped and burned. On top of the lighthouse, the guard stared down as the two bodies ran towards the ocean. They collapsed before they even reached ankle deep and the waves fell over their now-collapsed forms.

As people ran and screamed for help, some reaching for their phones, I looked up at the guard. He was stood on the rail for a moment but, in a swift motion, fell towards the black rock.


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« Reply #1 on: 11:57:35 AM 05/09/18 »
So when writing a story like this, from the first person and trying to go for that Ash Can feel it's best to have a character established.

Who is our narrator? What do they like and what do they want? What is a conflict they might have going into the story and can it be resolved by the end? Made worse? Or exaborated?

In your story the narrator feels sad about leaving his friends behind. The problem is there is little development of the narrator and his friends. Establishing a bit more about them can server to help us empathize with them.

Having the main threat be an accident also feels a bit cheap. Especially with the way you have it set up, fire doesn't instantly kill someone and having it caused by something out of Zoolander is probably a mistake.

I would caution you to find a different accident to befall them, or maybe something more malicious.

The light house keeper is a good touch and I'm torn on if him affecting the main plot is good, or if it'd be better to just have him serve as a background metaphor for the kids. The Light House Keeper being God or Fate and the Rats being the Teens with whatever cruel trajedy falls on them.

The last bit of advice I'd add is that whoever dies should be named.

If you found any of this helpful I encourage you to rewrite it! You got some good stuff here and I wouldn't want it to go to waste. Let me know if you do!

- Lion -