Twelve Shells by James Hancock

. I was out on a trap collect on the night they came.  The night my life turned inside out.  I should have been home.  Home…  a funny word for a rundown shell of what once was. Where to start?  Let’s go back to the beginning.  Not the very beginning, but the beginning of the...

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Michael
3 months ago

Holy shit! That was brutal from beginning to end. I enjoyed the way each crazy was dispatched – very creative and no repetition. Hard to do with so many of them. 😉 You handled the story well; it had a lot of pace and it was a quick read. It would have been nice if he managed to save Cassie, but that isn’t the story you were going for. Nice lines here and there too, this one in particular – very graphic, “Just enough left to tell the story, but not enough to bury.” Solid job!

maria delaney
3 months ago

Holy SHIT! That was amazing! I never get to read this kinda stuff on this site!!!! I was hooked (no pun intended, Sorry Cassie) to every word.

I started to read faster and faster. This was great!

The pace held well, the storyline was interesting and your tone stayed on point.

I’ve got you on my radar now.

Seyi
3 months ago

Hey James, ‘full-on carnage’ is a great descriptor. This story does feel like your usual spooky, scary, with added dystopian flavor as well. The action scenes were graphic and detailed, and the end, with your narrator, pretty much turning into a bit of a crazy as well (I was sick of rabbit, but looking at the crazies, there was enough meat here to last a month), seemed to hold your usual twist in the tale. Dark, brutal, violent. Great writing. Best regards, Seyi

Becky
3 months ago

Fast paced and gory, as you promised! I liked this line, “…and his face redecorated the wall of the school’s library corner”, and also the hatchet fight. Unique and cleverly written!

Marta
3 months ago

Raw and fabulous. Your ability as a writer is shining bright when you write what you like. A job well done. If I may offer a few notes,

– ” He didn’t have time to cry out and alert anyone, but the noise of his skull splitting had alerted them anyway.” Perhaps; It wasn’t his scream that alerted the others, but the bone chilling sound of his skull being split open.

It isn’t a matter of time in this situation. From a technical stand point, if someone split your skull open, (I imagine) you wouldn’t be capable of making a sound, sort of like getting the wind knocked out of you.

– “The crazy’s eyes widened, and he was about to shout a warning, but there was no need; both barrels from my gun went off and his face redecorated the wall of the school’s library corner.” I would remove ‘and’. Perhaps; “The crazy’s eyes widened, he was about to shout a warning when the blast from my double barrel shotgun redecorated the school’s library corner with his face.

Overall a great piece. I think you should explore this genre more or at least consider writing a longer short story based on this one.

Marta
3 months ago
Reply to  James

Dude! Stephen King submitted short stories to magazines. There is an audience out there. Check out Pirate Zombie Publishing and their writing group on Facebook. I just completed their writing challenge. (15 000 max short story in a week) I think your genre would be right at home.

Deb Snyder
3 months ago

Hi James, really enjoyed this, in an “I’m scared to look!” sort of way, which I think was your intention! The end surprised me, but it was perfect, nonetheless. I liked how you wove your title word “shell” into the story, with multiple different meanings. And I know I can find some opportunity for “You can’t bite your way out of a hatchet fight” to be relevant in my own life, ha! Well done.

Peggy
3 months ago

Wow, this was in your face cray good! As Maria said, we don’t often see this kind of carnage here very often, although we do get some great action stories from several writers that I enjoy. The pace of your story is fantastic, you set the stage with a bit of backstory, then plunge us directly into the fray. The story itself reminded me somewhat of The Twelve by Justin Cronin, (which is an excellent story if you haven’t read it), and exactly how I feel about your story. My only critique is the glossary type paragraph in which you describe the scav dogs, crazies, etc. It kind of pulled me out of the story, even though I get that the descriptions were necessary, I just think that if you could have found another way to provide these descriptions inline with the story it would have enhanced rather than detracted. At any rate, this does not take away my overall impression of the great writing you’ve shared with us, from beginning to end. Well done!

Nsbnina
3 months ago

Wowza. Grisly, horrific, and yet yr MC had such a sardonic (?) voice that coupled with the frantic pace of the story I found myself accepting everything and following along to its clever conclusion.

Deryn
3 months ago

Hi James maybe not your usual genre but I could definitely hear your voice in there. It was No Country for Old Men meets any number of other movies I could cite, meaning it was completely cinematographic – depraved, desperate, raw – really a great piece.

Deryn
3 months ago
Reply to  James

cinematic…that’s the word. I added about 3 extra syllables!!!

Dionne
3 months ago

Fan-freaking-tastic.

Renee Shurilla
2 months ago

Great story, James! Action packed and exciting from the beginning. chilling at the end. Keep writing!