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Place yourself in the shoes of a sixteen year old girl, going to high school like anyone else.

Now, place yourself in the shoes of a sixteen year old girl, going to a high school populated by demons.

When spirits from the supernatural world, Atrehaa, come back to haunt the earth, Tessa Desmond finds herself stuck in the middle. How does she cope? How does she defend herself against the monsters who come out at the darkest hour of the night? And just what is it that has so many seniors looking so down, like they're on their deathbeds? Read on to find out.

This is the first serious piece of literature I have ever written, so feedback, suggestions and constructive criticism would be much appreciated!
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CHAPTER ONE - "THE FIRST DAY"
EDITED 30/03/12


Hello, everybody. My name is Tessa Desmond, and I moved here from Alberta. That’s in Canada, you know? Pretty far away. I don’t really know anyone here yet, and I’m bound to get lost a million times during my first couple of days here. Still, I hope we can get along well, and if any of you know anything about horses, even better.

That’s what I meant to say during my first class of my first day at Rockwell High School. Instead, all that came out was a barely audible “Uh…hi.”

Okay, so maybe first impressions aren’t my thing. Still, I thought I’d be able to get out a little more than that. I guess that’s what I get for being the new kid in town. The stares from the other students in the class didn’t exactly help me either. They were like…what did they remind me of? Wolves? Hawks? Whatever they were, they were some kind of predator, staring down the fresh meat.

Well, I had heard somewhere that Rockwell High has an unusually high bullying rate. It didn’t matter in the end, though. I had been offered a place here as soon as my parents, my dog and I moved down here to Denver, Colorado. We couldn’t figure out exactly what the sudden offer was about, but my parents didn’t seem to care. RHS is known as one of the most prestigious high schools in the United States, and as far as my mom had heard, the students here were perfect angels. I, on the other hand, heard otherwise. I heard that this place was full of bullies, spoiled rotten by their rich parents.

And something about the smirks those kids gave me told me that my assumptions were correct.

“Thank you, Miss Desmond. You can sit down right in front of Max.” My English teacher, Mrs. Stone, pointed to an empty seat as she instructed me. Of course, it was the only empty seat in the room. Set up just for me, the prey in the circle of predators.

As soon as I sat down, class started as usual. I stared intently at the blackboard, scribbling notes as quickly and effectively as I could. Maybe if I finished my work sooner, the class would end sooner as well. The excitement for the new day I had woken up to this morning was long gone, replaced with an awful ache in my stomach that told me to get the heck out of there. But I had already brought enough attention to myself, and walking out in the middle of class would certainly give me all of the attention I really didn’t need.

Of course I made the mistake of looking somewhere other than the board. My head turned very slightly to look out the window, to observe the silent beauty of a snowy winter day. But instead of a window, my eyes met those of a boy. I recognized him instantly as one of the boys who had been staring at me in the most annoying way. I tried to look away, but for some reason, I couldn’t. There was something about those eyes…those green eyes, almost identical to mine, specked with crimson.

Don’t stare. You might make him feel awkward. I had to tell myself as I looked back at the board. This wasn’t like me. I didn’t normally stare at people for something as insignificant as their eye color. Sure, his eyes weren’t exactly common, but I had seen similar eyes before. It was a strange eye condition that had been discovered quite some time ago. A century ago, maybe. It was just a genetic defect, like a more common type of albino. Back home in Alberta, there were a couple of pseudo-albinos that I knew, so I should have been more than used to them.

Although I looked away, the boy didn’t. What was his problem? Probably checking out the new kid, thinking of ways to prank her, tease her, and humiliate her. That’s what they always did with the new kids in school, right?

“What do you want?” I hissed at the boy before I could even think about what to say or do. What he did next wasn’t a prank, or a tease. It was just pure humiliation. He raised his eyebrows, puckered his lips as if waiting for a kiss, and made it pretty obvious that he was eyeing my chest. My face heated up in an instant. Not out of flattery, or mutual attraction, but out of pure rage. And before I knew what I was doing, I was out of my seat, storming towards his, and smacking him across the face.

“Don’t even think about it, moron!” I screamed at the boy, who now had a huge red mark on his cheek from where I slapped him. His eyes were widened in what I hoped was fear, until I heard a voice from the front of the classroom say, “Miss Desmond, go back to your seat! And I’ll speak to you after class, young lady!”

It was at that moment that I realized that slapping a student in front of the teacher on my first day at a new school was probably not the smartest idea. I gave a quick glare to the idiot boy who succeeded in getting the best of me, and stormed back to my seat, red with anger and embarrassment. Just a second later, I felt something light hit the back of my head. I flinched and didn’t dare look back. The last thing I needed was to over-react to one of those immature boys again. I felt it again. And ignored it again.

And just when I thought I was going to explode from frustration, the bell finally rang for first period to end. I sighed in relief, forgetting for a minute that I still needed to talk to the teacher about my behavior. It actually didn’t go too badly. Since it was not only my first offence, but my first day, she let me off with a warning and reminded me that the boy…what was his name? Mitch White. Mitch White was always playing the role of the class clown, and apparently that was his way of welcoming girls to the school. Not that I cared. Whatever his intention was, he still looked and acted like a pig.

Going back to my desk to pick up my bag, I saw what must have been the things that were hitting my head earlier. Two wads of paper, sitting at the foot of my desk. I rolled my eyes. Back in Alberta, people stopped throwing paper at each other in middle school. Looking closer at the paper, I realized there was writing on it. Passing notes normally stopped in middle school too. Still, what harm would there be in reading them? Whoever wrote the notes were probably out of class by now anyway, and even if I did feel tempted to strangle them, I wouldn’t really know who they are anyway. I carefully opened the first wad of paper and read:

Great job sticking up to that jerk! Keep it up and I think we could be good friends, girlie!
-Max


The realization that the note had positive things to say about me was a bit of a shock, but it did leave a smile on my face. But the question remained: Who was this Max person? I took a second look at the note. It was written with some pretty messy handwriting, much like how most boys would write. But at the end of the note, a giant smiley face was drawn beside a small heart. That seemed like a pretty girly signature to me. Not to mention the fact that Max is a unisex name. I read the second note, hoping it would give me some clues. This time I read the note out loud, realizing that I was hearing not just my own voice, but someone else’s.

“You look pretty lonely, so why don’t we hang out today? I could show you all over town and the campus, and protect you from any jerks that try to hit on you!” The two voices said in unison. I heard the second voice from behind me, and turned around. The boy who sits behind me was smiling brightly at me. Oh, that’s right! Mrs. Stone had said when she seated me that I would be sitting in front of Max.

“I’m assuming you’re Max.” I said as the boy nodded excitedly. He didn’t look like the other boys in the class. He seemed a lot less cruel and a lot more energetic. His big brown eyes were free of red specks, his shaggy brown hair framing his face, his grin bringing out the freckles on his nose. To put it simply, he was absolutely adorable.

“Yep, that’s me! I’m Max! Well, I’m actually Maximilian Jonathan Fleming, but that name’s icky! So just call me Max! And you’re Tina, right? No, Tessa! You’re Tessa!” Max cried as he jumped out from his seat, patting my head. “And you’re new here! So you don’t know much, right? That’s cool, because-“

“Max, breathe!” I pressed my hand over his mouth to stop him from talking for just a moment. He continued to mumble desperately through my mouth. I sighed. Where did that boy get so much energy? Or so much air, for that matter? “Look, I appreciate your offer, and I accept it. But please, I’m too tired today to listen to things properly, so maybe try to tone it down? Just a tiny bit?

I slowly, hesitantly, removed my hand from his mouth, as he took a deep breath and replied, “Aw, that’s no fun…”

I tried to smile a little, just for him. “Hey, come on. We’re still hanging out today, right?”

“Oh, right!” Max smiled and grabbed my hand, pulling me out of the classroom.

“Uh, Max? Where are we going!?”

“On an adventure, silly!” Max turned back to me and grinned, continuing to run. Something about that grin, that careless expression, told me that Max and I were going to get along pretty well. Still, going on an “adventure” would be a pretty bad idea right now. For one reason and one reason only.

“Uh, Max? We still have school, right? Hey! Stop!”
The Angel Dystopia's avatar

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I had to return the favor and read yours!

I love the deatail, but it's a little much. I OVERFLOWS. User Image

Using a lot of description in a third person POV just makes it seem clogged, so spread it out or switch to a first person POV (it's more natrual for a direct voice to notice things instead of this "ALL KNOWING" force).
It's really the difference of too much coming at once, and having enough detail to just barely tickle your taste buds.

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SHE MEETS SO MANY PEOPLE AT ONCE! And all of them seem to be the same in personality. I don't know if the personality thing is what you are going for or not but it's a little overwhelming. Try to leave space for me to know this character for who they are. And if all those people came swarming at me in such a short amount of time I'd be all like

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Tessa seems awesome however. She's shy and quiet on the outside but she snaps like a twig. She's observant (maybe a little too observant so make her thoughts trail and her mind guess some more). Plus the name Tessa is beautiful, I love it.

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Oh I almost forgot. If you like to describe things, describe actions. It's really satisfying to the mind and it actually really helps describe a character.

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Melody Niwa's avatar

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Bloodstone Angel
I had to return the favor and read yours!

I love the deatail, but it's a little much. I OVERFLOWS. User Image


That's probably because I had just finished writing some descriptive essays for English class before writing this. XD I'll work on that.

Bloodstone Angel
Using a lot of description in a third person POV just makes it seem clogged, so spread it out or switch to a first person POV (it's more natrual for a direct voice to notice things instead of this "ALL KNOWING" force).
It's really the difference of too much coming at once, and having enough detail to just barely tickle your taste buds.

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Now, for the descriptions, are you referring to the physical descriptions of the school? Or the detail in general?


Bloodstone Angel
SHE MEETS SO MANY PEOPLE AT ONCE! And all of them seem to be the same in personality. I don't know if the personality thing is what you are going for or not but it's a little overwhelming. Try to leave space for me to know this character for who they are. And if all those people came swarming at me in such a short amount of time I'd be all like

User Image


Haha, that was supposed to imitate the overwhelming feeling of being the new kid in school. But you could be right.


Bloodstone Angel
Tessa seems awesome however. She's shy and quiet on the outside but she snaps like a twig. She's observant (maybe a little too observant so make her thoughts trail and her mind guess some more). Plus the name Tessa is beautiful, I love it.

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Thank you!~
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Most of it is descrption of the school, but it's still a little too much. All you need is some practice and deciding what is important to say and what itsn't. There is plenty of time to describe the school.



I understand the OMG factor of being new at a school, but find a different way to communicate that feeling. Build the nervousness with waiting for something to happen, you bring in a lot of characters at once. Wait to bring a few in or bring them in as a group of friends. Something that seems natural. Also you need a common enemy (that's a character that nobody likes because their a total douche). Almost everyone at this school seems to nice. So either a.) this is a really nice bully frree school or b.) they all have this evil plan to be nice and then be jerks. I understand you have the kid who yells but come one, he isn't that bad. It's not like he's strung her panties from the flag pole or anything.


(grr stupid gif won't show)

Yes I do plan on answering everything with a gif just because it makes people smile, laugh, and feel good. smile
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Melody Niwa's avatar

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I rewrote Chapter One using Bloodstone Angel's advice. Please feel free to re-read if you want smile
Love it. The characters seemed believable and the way you built the atmosphere was great.
The place you decided to end on was nice as well. Thrown a few pieces of here that ended where I stopped typing and just didnt make sense. XD Haha.
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The_Phantom_Belle
Love it. The characters seemed believable and the way you built the atmosphere was great.
The place you decided to end on was nice as well. Thrown a few pieces of here that ended where I stopped typing and just didnt make sense. XD Haha.


Thanks! smile

Do you want me to keep you posted on new chapters? I should have the next one up tonight.
Melody Niwa

Thanks! smile

Do you want me to keep you posted on new chapters? I should have the next one up tonight.


I'd love that. biggrin
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CHAPTER TWO - "THE COMPANION"


It took a while, but eventually I was able to drag Max back to class for the rest of the day. On one hand, I was glad to be in all the same classes as Max because I actually had someone to talk to. On the other hand, I felt like I could never relax in class because I always had to keep an eye on him. I think it’s pretty safe to say that if I had left him alone, Max would have dragged me away on one of his “adventures” in the middle of class. Actually, it’s not just safe to say, it’s a fact. From second period right until the final bell, Max would constantly flash one of his cheery grins at me. A grin that told me he had something cooking in that hyperactive mind of his. So as soon as the final bell rang to dismiss students from class, it wasn’t a shock that Max was at my side only a few seconds later.

“Can we go on an adventure now?” Max asked me happily, jumping a little. I was still trying to figure out how anyone could possibly be so energetic. Did the boy eat a bowl of sugar for breakfast or something?

“Only if you lead the way.” I said with a smile. “I still don’t know my way around here, you know.”

Max grinned. “No problem!” he cried, grabbing my hand and running down the hall, pulling me with him enthusiastically. It took a lot of energy to keep up with him, even when he refused to let me go. Trying to run down the stairs without killing myself was a challenge on its own. But eventually, the whole ordeal was over and we were outside.

As soon as we stepped outside, I had to put my winter coat on over my school coat. It wasn’t incredibly cold, but the snow was coming down pretty heavily and there was a bit of wind. Somehow, the snow really helped to accentuate the look of the school. From the outside, the school looked like a castle. Not an overly fancy castle that a king would live in, but it definitely had that kind of appearance. The dormitory buildings, the boys’ on the left side and the girls’ on the right, were built the same way. Add the Victorian-style gates surrounding the campus, and you would never believe that the place is just a regular high school.

“So, Max.” I looked at the boy who had finally stopped long enough to put on his coat. “Where are we going today, exactly?”

“Oh, lots of places! We’ll go to the mall, and the movies, and this awesome diner! Oh! I’ll write out a huge list of stuff to do tonight, and then we’ll do everything!” Max replied excitedly. I couldn’t help but smile a little. The day was sure to be interesting, to say the least. Max would surely get at least a little bit tired from all of the running around we were going to do, right?
Wrong. At the mall, he was sprinting to every store, looking at every shelf for a second before running to the next one. We went to see a comedy movie, and although he wasn’t moving much, he sure was laughing. Of course, I couldn’t help but laugh too. And in the diner, he didn’t eat anything, but he did get a chocolate milkshake.

“Do you really think you need any more sugar?” I asked as he sipped away. I took a small bite of my sandwich, awaiting his response.

“What? This is my first sugary thing today, I swear!” Max exclaimed. I gave him a look that told him clearly enough that I didn’t believe him. “What?”

“Are you seriously trying to tell me that you’re this hyper all the time?” I asked.

“Um, well, yeah! I guess so. That’s not bad, is it?” Max asked, giving me a look that could only be described as pitiful. He really reminded me of a small child, or a puppy. And of course that pitiful look he gave me had to tug at my heartstrings.

“N-no, Max! Of course not!” I replied with a smile. “You have spirit, and I guess that’s a good thing!”

Max’s face instantly brightened. “Really!?”

“Yeah, really.” I assured him. I stood up and pulled some change from my bag, placing it on the table. “It’s getting late. Maybe we should head back.

“Okay!” Max said as he jumped up, paying for his drink and following me out. It was a good thing that we left when we did, or else we might have missed our bus back to school. RHS was about fifteen minutes away from Denver, but they arranged one city bus to go out to the school for students who couldn’t drive, like Max and me.

Getting on the bus, I saw that it was nearly empty. There were only four people on the bus. Max and I sat near the front of the bus, while two other students sat in the back. A petite blonde girl snuggled in the arms of a dark-haired boy. They both wore Rockwell High uniforms.

“Hey, Max.” I whispered. “Do you know those two?”

Max turned around in his seat and nodded. “Oh, duh! Everyone knows them! Don’t you know them?”

I simply looked at Max for a moment. Did he forget today was my first day at this school?

“Oh, uh, right.” Max muttered. “That girl is Susana McKade! She’s really smart and pretty, but she doesn’t talk to a lot of people! And the boy is Marshall Irving! He’s super cool and really chill! Those two are always together, but I’ve never seen them that close before! Oh!” he gasped. “Tessa! Tessa! Do you think they’re dating!?”

“I…I don’t know! I don’t even know them!” I answered, trying to reason with Max.

“Could you two keep it down?” I heard a light, airy voice call out to us. I turned around and saw the blonde, Susana McKade, looking at us. “Some of us are trying to relax here.”

“Um…sorry.” I muttered, looking back at Susana. The lighting in the bus showed off her crimson-specked eyes pretty easily. Marshall’s eyes were tinged with red too. That was three pseudo-albinos that I had seen today. No, that wasn’t true. I had seen way more than that. In the halls, in my other classes, all over campus. I saw more pseudo-albinos in that one day than I ever had in my entire life. The condition was supposed to be pretty rare, so what was going on? Maybe it was just more common in America, but still.

Lost in thought, I almost missed our bus stop. It took a few pokes in the arm from Max to snap me out of my thoughts. I stood up quickly and jumped off the bus, leaving Max and I a few yards behind Susana and Marshall. Not that it mattered. It didn’t look like those two wanted much to do with us anyway. Especially the girl, Susana McKade. I wondered if she was always so grumpy.

We soon reached a fork in the road, each path leading to a dormitory building. I looked at Max. “Well, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow.” I said with a smile.

“Alright!” Max grinned in his usual way and ran down the road. “Bye!” He called back to me and waved. I laughed and shook my head a bit, then went on my way.

Even though I wasn’t trying, I managed to catch up with Susana. Either I was walked faster than normally, or she was just a slow walker. Or she wasn’t feeling well, which I could assume by the pale and sickly look on her face.

“Hey, Susana? Are you alright?” I asked, reaching out to rest my hand on her shoulder, only to have her slap me away. My eyes widened in shock.

“I don’t need your help.” Susana muttered. “In fact, you shouldn’t even be here.”

I blinked in confusion, and frowned. “What’s that supposed to mean? Oh, I get it. It’s because I’m the new kid, huh? You’re going to cast me aside like everyone else, right?”

Susana laughed. “Right. Like I’d waste my precious time picking on you.” She said, turning back to face me. “It’s not safe for you here. You have to leave.”

“What?”

“Are you stupid or something? I’m telling you to leave this school!” she screamed and ran off. I watched her run off and rolled my eyes, finding my way back to my dorm room. Something told me I wouldn’t like Susana as much as everyone else did, according to Max.

I made it back to my dorm room after just a few minutes of hunting around. I guess they decided to go easy on me by putting my room close to the entrance. It was small, but it would do the job since I didn’t have a roommate. I looked in the full-length mirror on the bathroom door. I could tell that today had been rough just by seeing me. My shoulder-length black curls had frizzed a little bit from the snow, and dark circles had formed under my emerald-green eyes. I stripped out of my school uniform; a green jacket, matching my eyes, that donned the school crest, a black knee-length pleated skirt, a white dress shirt, and a green bow tied around my neck. My clothes had wrinkled throughout the day. I’ll have to iron those in the morning, I told myself and set my alarm clock for a half hour earlier before climbing into bed.

Not realizing until now just how tired I was, I quickly dozed off. What was that noise? It sounded like a moan of pain. Maybe one of the girls got sick from alcohol or something. That happened a lot at boarding schools, didn’t it? I fell into a deep sleep, too tired to care.
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CHAPTER THREE - "THE FIRST NIGHT"


When I closed my eyes, I saw a young man. It was hard to see because it was so dark, but it looked like he was in Rockwell High. Who was he, though? He looked too old to be a student, but too young to be a teacher. It didn’t look like he was wearing our uniform, either. He walked through the main hall, a slip of paper in his hand. When I saw the man enter the supply closet, it finally occurred to me that he was a custodian.

Was I dreaming? I must have been, because even though I could see and hear everything that was going on, I knew I wasn’t there physically. I couldn’t feel anything. I couldn’t feel the floor under my feet, or the cold winter air around me. It was like I wasn’t really there. Like I was watching TV, or looking through a camera lens at the scene before me.

I found myself watching the man for quite some time, although I wasn’t really sure why. All he did was clean everything; the floors, the windows, the blackboards. Why was I watching this?

What was that? Was that a growl I heard? A cry? A plea for help? No, it was the same sound from before. The moan of pain I had heard before going to sleep. Except that this time, I wasn’t the only one who heard it. The man looked up from his work, froze for a moment, and slowly continued his work.

“Hey. Do you know what that sound was?” I asked him, but got no response. Of course, because he didn’t hear me. I wasn’t actually there. But I needed to get his attention somehow. Whoever that was who kept moaning, they needed help. I had to help them.

And when I woke up, the image of the man was still fresh in my mind, as was the cry for help.
Voice is not something you struggle with, that's for sure. It had a decent flow and very strong character.

You could do with a few things to tighten up your writing. I feel like I'm constantly repeating myself saying these things but they are all common beginner's mistakes that even the best make. Hell, look at the Hunger Games or Twilight for example. Anyway!

Try to avoid using "to be," verbs. They really weaken writing.

Also, sense words distance the reader.
"I saw him coming," etc.

Try something a little more concise:

"He darted toward me,"

The reader assumes that the narrator is reliable and that they can be trusted so saying things such as " I saw him," and "I heard her," are a little bland. Just show us what they are doing.

Showing, not telling is the best way to write. You never want the reader to feel like they are reading something, so anything that pulls them away from whats going on and returns them to their reality is bad.

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