Maria (continued)

[Bit late on posting the story this week. Sorry about that :p]

There were lights on in the hallway, the same dim light strips that lined the walls in their room lined the walls beyond the door.

Ok, where ever we are has power for one thing, Maria reasoned, and the fact that we could open the door means we probably aren’t prisoners. So what are we doing here? She took hold of the door frame, preparing to pull herself out to the corridor.

“Hold up,” the idiot grabbed her shoulder and braced with the door frame to keep her inside, “It could be a trap.”

“Seriously?” Maria said flatly. “You seriously think someone put us here just to pull a Cube on us?”

“A what?” he looked very confused.

Cube. Or like, Saw. Elaborate death trap movies,” Maria said.

“Ah. Well, I guess it’s a longshot, but I’d prefer not to take the chance.”

Maria shrugged, and let the idiot pull himself through the door first. He floated along the hallway tense and ready, though for what Maria didn’t know. She found it very unlike somebody would go to all the trouble of putting them here just to kill them, though if this really was aliens, she supposed all bets were off.

He floated along until he was nearly out of sight, then caught the wall to stop himself. Whatever that material was, it was really handy.

“Satisfied?” she called to him.

“I guess so,” he called back, “for now.”

“Can we get out or not?” Mr. Poulder called.

Daniel was as happy as he could be. He was weightless. It was exhilarating and wonderful and fun as hell. He was, of course, also very worried. People didn’t just wake up weightless, and whatever had happened, seem to have happened to their whole town. It must have been last night, but Daniel couldn’t remember when. He didn’t remember going to sleep. He was in his house, in the Laz-e-boy, watching something on Netflix (a documentary or something, after a few hours they had all started to blur together), then he was waking up to the screaming and yelling in the darkness. It had been pretty terrifying. Since escaping what the girl Maria had declared a “cargo hold,” the rest of the folks had rushed off in different directions looking for…whatever. Daniel hadn’t liked the idea of splitting everyone up, but Poulder had encouraged it, saying that if anyone found any clues as to why they were there it would be worth it. He had at least reminded everyone to remember the turns they took carefully, which was good, but not exactly a flawless system.

Now he was floating his way down another hallway with floors curving up. He had thought that the curved sides were walls, but the Maria had insisted that the concave walls were the floor. He had left her back at an intersection where she was looking at the floor and mumbling about “simulated gravity.”

Daniel used the walls to adjust course and turn right. He was loving this sense of flying through the ship, and he was getting really good at using the walls to change direction, slow and stop himself. He was convinced it was a ship. There was no way something this big was just sitting around Ohio. No way.

Daniel came to the end of this particular hallway. No more turns to take, just a door. Maria had insisted that he not open any more doors, but Daniel really wanted to keep going. He slowed himself and did a cursory exam of the door. It looked about the same as all the others in the halls, and the one they’d come out of the cargo from.

It looked just like all the doors he had passed on his way here, which had all looked about the same as the one in the cargo hold. This one had to be special though. It was at the end of a dead-end hallway. His hand went to the latch and opened it.

The lights of the room came up as Daniel entered. Those same dim lights with a hint of blue and a hint of green from strips that ran along the walls. Inside, the room was a circular clutter of what must be computers. Weird half chair half bench looking things sat in front of them, with loose things dangling weightless in the air. Strap probably, Daniel reasoned. The room was tall, but not much taller than the hallway, and there was a central area that seemed to be where most of the work would be done. It reminded him of an operations room he’d been in once. Before Iraq.

There was another light on over in this main area as well. One of the screens was on. Blinking some message. There was a sound as well. Some kind of gargling churning noise. Then a small blinking light came up on the screen. A word maybe? An alert?

Then there was a sound. Like a distant boom and low rumbling. The room began to move around him and Daniel scrambled to grab hold of something, but things were already moving too fast. He missed the edge of the console and he saw himself falling towards the wall. Bad luck that his left side hit first. His leg with the scar on it folded under him as he hit and he screamed in pain. He slid down to what Maria had deemed the floor crying through gritted teeth. Weightlessness had been too good to last after all. Andrew Poulder and Maria were both close enough to hear the scream, and after getting their bearings as they transitioned from weightlessness to perceived weight, they both ran along the new floor towards the source of the screaming. Maria dared to congratulate herself on the way. I was right, she thought, simulated gravity. It is a spaceship.

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One Response to Maria (continued)

  1. Sientir says:

    What follows (between the double dashes) are my observations on spelling and grammar stuff. The format is a quote from the story, then my comments on that quote on a newline. Hopefully it is understandable! If you want a higher quality examination of this sort of thing, I could always ask my sister to take a look at it.

    “Ok, where ever we are has power for one thing, Maria reasoned, and the fact that we could open the door means we probably aren’t prisoners. So what are we doing here?”
    Wherever is one word.

    “She took hold of the door frame, preparing to pull herself out to the corridor.”
    “out to” sounds odd to me. I expected “out into”.

    “Maria shrugged, and let the idiot pull himself through the door first.”
    There shouldn’t be a comma here. “let the idiot pull himself through the door first.” is lacking a subject (Maria being the subject in the compound sentence). I’m pretty confident on this one, as my sister has corrected me numerous times for committing this very mistake.

    “She found it very unlike somebody would go to all the trouble of putting them here just to kill them, though if this really was aliens, she supposed all bets were off.”
    I think you wanted “unlikely” rather than “unlike” here. Also, this sentence feels a touch unwieldy to me. I think I’d personally make that first comma a period. If I made that change, I’d likely also put a comma after the “though”, though I’d need to confirm with my sister (she’s an English major and editor; I’ve learned a lot from working with her on some articles I’ve written/been writing) if that is correct.

    ““Can we get out or not?” Mr. Poulder called.

    Daniel was as happy as he could be. He was weightless. It was exhilarating and wonderful…”
    The switch to Daniel’s perspective caught me rather abruptly. Again, some sort of non-text indicator (such as * * *) between sections would help clue me in before I hit the change.

    “People didn’t just wake up weightless, and whatever had happened, seem to have happened to their whole town.”
    I think you want “seemed” here, as the rest of the sentence is past tense.

    “He was in his house, in the Laz-e-boy, watching something on Netflix (a documentary or something, after a few hours they had all started to blur together), then he was waking up to the screaming and yelling in the darkness.”
    “in” the Laz-e-boy? The chair worries me slightly. More seriously, I think “sitting” should be here somewhere, either as “sitting in” or “sitting on”. I’m not sure if one of those is better, and given some of those chairs, you do seem to be more sitting in them than on them. On a side note, I feel like a paragraph break after this sentence is appropriate.

    “He had thought that the curved sides were walls, but the Maria had insisted that the concave walls were the floor.”
    Strike the “the” before Maria? I mean, you could have it there, but it seems a little odd.

    “He slowed himself and did a cursory exam of the door.”
    I would prefer it if “examination” was fully written out. “Exam” just feels odd to me.

    “It looked about the same as all the others in the halls, and the one they’d come out of the cargo from.”
    “Cargo hold”, rather than just “cargo”, I think. Also, I think you want something more like, “As well as the one they’d come out of…” The “and” there doesn’t feel smooth to me.

    “It looked just like all the doors he had passed on his way here, which had all looked about the same as the one in the cargo hold.”
    You’re repeating yourself. This sentence is pretty much identical to the previous one (talked about above), only I like this one better.

    “It was at the end of a dead-end hallway.”
    You use “end” in very close proximity to itself here. Changing the sentence around can alleviate this. Maybe something more like, “It was the last door of a dead-end hallway.”

    “Inside, the room was a circular clutter of what must be computers.”
    You may actually mean “clutter” here, but it feels like it wants to be “cluster” to me. Obviously, this is more subjective than some of the other things, but the way this sentence is structured leads me to feel this way.

    “Weird half chair half bench looking things sat in front of them, with loose things dangling weightless in the air.”
    I think the adjective pile at the start of this sentence needs…something. I’m not an expert on this, but I think it needs to be something more like, “Weird half-chair, half-bench looking things…” or something more along those lines. If you want, I could potentially ask my sister about it. Also, I’m not entirely sure that the comma that is there is actually necessary.

    “Strap probably, Daniel reasoned.”
    Do you actually mean “straps”?

    “Blinking some message.”
    This is technically a sentence fragment; there is no subject. This sentence alone doesn’t tell us what is blinking a message. You can leave this stylistically, but if you want to be more correct, you’d combine it with the previous sentence, like so: “One of the screens was on, blinking some message.”

    “Some kind of gargling churning noise.”
    Another sentence fragment, see previous point on that. Additionally, there should be a comma separating the adjectives “gargling” and “churning”.

    “Like a distant boom and low rumbling.”
    Another sentence fragment. This is an adjective phrase.

    “The room began to move around him and Daniel scrambled to grab hold of something, but things were already moving too fast.”
    I’m fairly certain there should be a comma before the “and” here. I believe the rule is, if you can replace the and with a period and get two complete sentences, there should be a comma before the and. If you can’t, there shouldn’t be a comma.

    “Bad luck that his left side hit first.”
    Another sentence fragment. If you wanted to change that, you could go with, “It was bad luck that his left side hit first.”

    “Andrew Poulder and Maria were both close enough to hear the scream, and after getting their bearings as they transitioned from weightlessness to perceived weight, they both ran along the new floor towards the source of the screaming.”
    The subject of the paragraph has changed from Daniel to Poulder and Maria. In my opinion, therefore, this sentence should start a new paragraph.

    “I was right, she thought, simulated gravity.”
    I can’t help feeling like it should be a period after “thought” instead of a comma. That might just be me, though.

    Those are most of what I noticed. I may have missed a thing or two. Also, you used the word “Called” a lot in the first part of the story, just before you switch over to Daniel’s point of view.

    As for the story itself, I found it enjoyable. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes. You’ve done a good job of advancing things while refining the mystery in a way that leaves me further intrigued. Good job on that! And I’m happy to know if this level of examination is helpful, what sort of comments you found most useful, that sort of thing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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