Are story excerpts still welcome here?

I’ve scoured through the posts of “Scrivenings” and found it both entertaining, amusing, intriguing, and a bit daunting. I would ask for opinions. At age 70, one begins to feel time is slipping by a little too quickly, and much remains to be written.

I’m not a published writer, although I made a living for many years as a rural journalist.

These are the opening paragraphs of a short story I’ve written, during an impulsive burst such as happens when an idea that has burrowed deeply into my mind bursts forth like an apple-maggot hatching into … what? Perhaps some things cannot remain buried too long. Apples do rot, eventually, right?

This piece is dense, dark, and entwines back upon itself like a helix. If someone finds it offense, my apologies. It’s not intended as such. The remainder of the story unfolds in an unexpected direction. With your indulgence, here are the first several paragraphs.


His beauty was loin-tingling and breath-taking all in one glimpse. The impact of his beauty was overwhelming: pale, almost luminous skin on a slender frame of perfect proportion; intelligent eyes set like dark jewels under delicate brows and long lashes; a proud, straight nose with slightly flared nostrils; a wide, mildly upturned mouth framed with rose-tinted lips, strong in expression but gentle in form, a mouth that expressed a voice both silky in timbre and harmonious in tone. His was the voice of an angel, sublime and enchanting.

Just twelve years of age, his eyes hinted at the wisdom of the ages. His slight stature and pale complexion belied a presence that flooded any room he entered with a sense of mirth, joy, and youthful promise. At this moment his mouth was gasping open with silent shrieks of despair, his eyes clenched tightly shut, his naked body wracked with spasms and cramps as he was flung forwards and back, helpless in the grip of a violent rape. Again.

The priest was hugely powerful, from the grey stubble of his closely-cropped hair to the gnarled toes that, like oak-roots, clenched the soles of his sandals and braced against the thrusts of his massive legs. His slab-sided face, square and teutonic under its bulbous, profusely sweating forehead, was tilted sharply back in orgasmic abandon, his mouth open and gasping, grunting, sucking air in great gulps, his hooked nose flared like a bulls nose, angry and florid. His thrusting buttocks clenched and unclenched with savage thrusts, impatient to their goal; his hands, great grasping butcher’s hands at the end of muscular arms, roped with tendons and thick rippling muscles, clenched the boys hips, slender pale legs obscenely spread and flailing helplessly, a limp doll thrust backwards and forwards, crushing against the priest’s pubic mat, soaked and dark, seen only as a thicker pad against the thickly matted, sweat-soaked mass of hair that ranged from his neck downwards, down the massive barrel of his body, down the thick tree-trunk legs, down even almost to the high-straining arches of his stained and heavily-calloused feet.

A loosely-woven robe of coarse brown fabric hung from the rutting priest’s shoulders, entirely open in the front, a knotted waist cord hanging tangled down each side. A crucifix, bearing the carved figure of a weeping and crucified man, flopped and danced wildly from the priest’s neck, its repeated impacts against his chest ignored. Beads of sweat fell upon the crucifix and were scattered away like so many tears wept by the carved figure thereon.

She was, without doubt, an angel. Everyone agreed. No one remembered such a lovely creature who combined the qualities of grace, intelligence, charm, and sweet disposition in one so young. Such a pity, they said, that she was so lowly born. Surely she had a father, but who that might be was lost to memory. Even her mother, who served in the Priest’s household as cook and scullery maid, could not remember who of the many passing stable boys and draymen might have sired the girl fourteen years ago. Obviously the God, of whom the master of this house piously claimed to be an humble servant, possessed a cynical humour to place a child so rare in beauty and disposition so slightly above the class of the basest born. Little in life was hers to have or hold or claim, except one small thing: she was loved, unreservedly and passionately, silently and softly, secretly and fearfully, for the love was forbidden and if known would destroy her and he who loved her. She was loved by the boy, and she loved him, for his kindness and his gentle nature and his wise eyes.

“It is delicious, warm and filling. Thank you,” he murmured to her as he slowly spooned the rich broth into his bruised mouth. He aroused just sufficiently to acknowledge her, and her gift of the small wooden bowl of soup from her mother’s kitchen. All else was black, hidden, unspeakable. Only the blessed light of her presence and her gift of food was allowed to enter his tortured mind.

“It is so little,” she murmured, her soft blue eyes gazing into his dark, half-lidded eyes, sunken into his pale, tear-streaked face. “Please take this bread, also; I will return after evening vespers with more if ma-ma allows.” She crept away, leaving his small chamber.

:neutral_face: …Intense. I’m not sure if I’d go buy the book if it were available, but I’d likely continue reading a further excerpt, which could lead me into wanting to go buy it.

I’m assuming that by posting it here you want reader thoughts, so here’s what I thought while reading:

I think you meant to say the boy roused rather than aroused to acknowledge the girl. That made me blink and smirk, damaging the mood.

Also, second line from start: “The impact of his beauty was” repeats “his beauty” from the line previous, making it a bit redundant. Have you tried “Its impact was”?

I’m assuming the boy who loves the girl is the same one who is regularly raped by the priest, but that’s unclear. I’m also not understanding why their love is forbidden, since there’s no reference to the boy’s station in life that I saw, which makes the comments about forbidden love seem, um, melodramatic and possibly existing only in the children’s heads.

Is there a reason you don’t name anybody, yet?

All that said, building tension while writing in long sentences isn’t the easiest thing to do. Good job.

Thank you.

Re: “roused” — point well taken. Bad finger! Bad, bad finger (slapping it silly against edge of desk). Finger not type word that mind knows is correct. Writer who have self for proof-reader will spend much time blushing.

This is an excerpt from a short story, as I said; not a book. Dark subject = dark story. Small, dark story.

Boy is boy, priest is priest, girl is girl. None will live long enough to know on name basis. Lord Mayor, later in story, is not named. Nobody is named. Not necessary.

Beauty redundant: yes, intended. He’s one truly beautiful boy. Repetition intended.

Next scene: the boy with the girl, the boy with the bruised mouth and the experience “black, hidden, unspeakable,” yes, same boy.

Rest of short story is at:


Sorry for not being clear in “I’m not sure if I’d go buy the book if it were available”–what I meant was, I wasn’t sure I’d go hunt down and pay for the rest, whatever form it might take. :slight_smile: I was trying to get my comments in quickly before I left home for work.

So you intended the repetition and namelessness. Good.

eyes link warily I’ll let you know if I read it or not. :slight_smile: