Reviews for In the end, there was nothing but darkness
Dragon made me do it chapter 1 . 6/13/2011
I liked this story. we are drawn into a post-apocalyptic existence as if it is reality. The afterlife is turned on its head as people scramble to get into hell.

Things like this are harder than you expect and yet also easier than you expect in ways you wouldn't have anticipated. You could trade is very well.

'On Earth, as it is in Heaven, there was nothing. Comet dust and pulverised bones. Under the earth, the dead waited with the living. For wont of imagination, we called it Hell.'

- I like the wording here and the reference to... is it the Lord's prayer? blended within the sentence harmoniously. it has a nice rhythm to it.

I like your controversial impressions of heaven and hell. the idea of competing to get into hell :-) turning religion inside out.

I like the way you hint at something horrific that has happened on earth without explaining it immediately. 'people fighting to enter the shelters, climbing over trampled bodies, the comet still a smear of innocent light in baby-blue sky'

'Underground, the dark isn't empty like it is in space. It's thick, weighed down by the layers of rock above.' - brilliant observation. What more can I say? I can just picture what it is like under there and smell the moist soil.

For a moment there I thought you managed to write a story with nothing to do with dogs, but no, metaphorical references ...'People became pack, feeding off each other's daring.' this is really quite clever though. it is about the way people behave in desperate situations that affect the whole of humanity. That kind of post-apocalyptic madness. Do you sell your friends out in an individualistic act or cling on to friendship and family (even if they are not your own) as Claire did?

And through this idea that you develop your characterisation. your characters represent the range of possible responses to this predicament. But this hasn't made them two-dimensional mouthpieces as it could have using this device. I think it is the details which makes you avoid this trap.

I like this idea of reaching out to the disintegrating memories to try to hold on to them and make them more complete and real. It is almost like when you are in a dream and can't see the details of somebody's face. It has quite a scary thought to have this as your reality.



'The pack retracted form the body' - ?guh? Is this supposed to be the pack retracted from the body? That still doesn't quite make sense to me, what body?
RedactedNoLongerWriting chapter 1 . 2/26/2011
It had taken everything I could to keep Samuel safe.

-I know this has been pointed out, but it still seems awkward. Right now 'could' doesn't really fit. It should probably be 'could do' or 'had', something like that.

...the comet still a smear of innocent light in baby-blue sky.

-Should probably be 'a' before baby-blue

The pack retracted form the body...


Ending: The end confused me. Was he blind? Was it only a sort-of blindness from being in the dark so long and his eyes needed to adjust or was he blind from the attack? I didn't understand how he was describing the light brightening his vision but still having 'sightless' eyes.

Characters/Relationships: I liked the relationship between Joe and Claire because I could really see how they worked off each other. However, I didn't get much sense of Samuel, despite him being a very important part of the story. I think it's because he didn't really talk, so I didn't really have anything to go on. That's something I would've liked developed a little more.

Pace/Techniques/Scene: I also like how you broke this into the three sections: sort-of before, during, and after living through Hell. The last section especially was well-developed as a scene. I liked all the use of sensory details there, particularly the progression of those things.

Enjoyment: Overall, I liked this. It has a nice, heavy mood to it that I always like in stories so that really appealed to me. The only thing I would've liked more of was the development of Samuel's character because he feels really important to the narrator but he's rather 1-dimensional right now.
Robert Shannon chapter 1 . 1/27/2011
The feel of this thing is wonderful, both the style of the prose and the description of the setting. You pack a lot into a little story. When you talk about his 'bulk' it made me think of him as a large powerful watchdog.

I can't find much negative to say. I offer these for your consideration:

'You breathe in each breath...' [would it be better if you left out 'in'?]

'Us brothers sat side by side' [shouldn't that be 'we'?]
The Saturday Storytellers chapter 1 . 10/1/2010
I fancy trying this one!

Your opening paragraph, short as it is, holds a fascination. The prosaic equivalent of walking over the brow of a hill to see a broad valley opened below you, it immediately shows the potential scope, the *size*, of the story to come. Or it does with you, anyway. Because if (quite a few) other people had written that, I'd take it at the value it immediately asks to be taken: as if it's talking purely about emotions, about a depressing situation. But I think you have a broader scope than that and this is literal, rather than some emotional journey.

"On Earth, as it is in Heaven, there was nothing." Interesting mangle, this. A combination of the classic Lord's Prayer and the start of Genesis. The elegance of it is slightly spoiled by the mid-sentence change in tense, but perhaps depending on the mood one is in when one reads it, the fundamental wrongness of even *that* might work. Overall, an unusual and interesting little device.

"I would have starved, if it hadn't been for Claire." And here, right at the end of the first 'scene' (if I can call it that), you open us up to more of the story to come.

I'm sure I've heard the chopsticks thing before, although I only realised I'd heard it before when you mentioned the feeding each other bit. A fantastic little piece of wisdom you dredged up there!

"It had taken everything I could to keep Samuel safe." You might need to add a word in or take a couple out to make this sentence make sense.

"Our father's eyes had ground into mine..." The idea of one person's eyes 'grinding' into the other's doesn't quite work for me, I'm afraid. It's an unusual alternative to 'bored into mine', but I think some other alternative is needed. Ground doesn't quite achieve the right effect for me, I'm afraid.

"...the comet still a smear of innocent light in baby-blue sky. People did anything to get away, to survive." So I get the impression here that the comet is the problem-causer in all of this, that at the time it was distant and looked innocuous enough but scientists had predicted it would cause a distaster. If I've understood right, then I think one more sentence needs to be added in between the two I've copied here, just to clarify. Although I can still see the meaning, it just feels like it needs an extra sentence in there, something to actually make the link.

That paragraph about the stain of the last days is wonderful. Very well-balanced and shows the harrowing feeling your character and all his comrades must have felt. It seems to fit the story you're telling perfectly!

"And it was always night." One question: how could they tell? I get the impression the darkness was partial, so some light got in - because you say the dark stains on peoples' clothes could have been sweat, so apparently your denizens of Hell could see something. But how?

The final scene feels a bit too abstract. I think it needs filling out, being made more substantial.

Oh! So Joe went blind? Poor lad!

I think you could expand on this story if you wanted to - it's only a starting point, but there are so many ways this could go, if you chose!

- From We Return Reviews.
Jess Megan chapter 1 . 7/22/2010
This was very interesting, the end reminded me vaguely of Plato's Allegory of the Cave, where Socrates is talking about what would happen if man was dragged into the sunlight outside of the cave.

I like how you left a lot uncovered, it leaves room for speculation and thought.
lianoid chapter 1 . 6/9/2010
Wow. That was a really engaging beginning. I didn’t know everything that had happened to the world and I like that. You begin with a bit of mystery; and it was highly effective in drawing me into this.

When the call went out "No more! No more!" and the doors began to close, the people on the outside had nothing to lose. We got in. Just. We made it into Hell.

-This is giving me some serious shivers.

You breathe in each breath knowing you've been buried alive.

-Terrifying. Oh man, this has such a helpless, horrifying feel to it. Ugh. I don’t know... it’s just so friggan scary, and you describe it so well.

The stain of those last days was cloaked, underground.

-No shit ‘eh? I was just toying with the idea of writing an underground fantasy story. Seems that more people are warming up to the forgotten setting. I love it. I’d be interested in reading a full story about this. You’d do a damn better job than I ever could.

I turned my sightless eyes to the sun.

-Wow. Like... I don’t even know what to say about this piece. It’s just... I’m literally speechless. I love this so so SO much. It was terrifying. I felt as if *I* was underground in the darkness. Oh man, I just... ah! It was just amazing. Really. Oh my god. I’m sorry, this is a terrible review, I know, but this was just *that* good. Holy shit. This is being favourite right now. No doubt about it.

Good luck in the WCC, although I don’t think you’ll need it.

learntosayhello chapter 1 . 6/9/2010
I kind of don't understand what happened.. but it was a nice read, nevertheless. I like the theme of going to hell, and what happens there, but were those references figurative or literal? And how did they get back to Earth? Oh and also I like how you kept capitalizing the Last Days and whatnot, making it really prominent.

Good job, I hope you get a lot of votes!
Michael Howard chapter 1 . 6/8/2010
There were some very compelling lines in this work ("You breathe in each breath knowing you've been buried alive." and "People became pack, feeding off each other's daring." among them) but I don't think I can class it as being among your best one shots. Because of the shortness of this piece, the character portraits were necessarily sketchy and so the tragedy of the narrator's 'blindness' to the lighter aspects of life has very little impact on the reader.

Loved the quotes from Gran and Dave Thomas BTW.
Sercus Kaynine chapter 1 . 6/6/2010
Very original take on the prompt. The desperation here kept me on the edge of my seat, and I really felt for the MC and his brother. This feels like something that could've taken a multi-chaptered story.

Such a sad ending. Good job springing the surprise, though.

Good luck in WCC!
AvidWriter-92 chapter 1 . 6/6/2010
Wow. :) This was an awesome oneshot! (I think you'll face some tough competition! :D)

I really, really liked this... It was a unique spin on the whole prompt thing. :)

Just wondering... what did they eat when they were down there? I hope that it was food... o.0

I felt bad for Samuel... :'( I bet that this could be turned into a story, for sure! It would be really fantastic! :D

My favorite line is:

"I remembered. That was all I had."

I don't know why I liked this one so much... It just got to me. :)

great descriptions, and it wasn't choppy at all... :)

~Avid. GF. :)

Thanks for the best wishes on WCC. I hope that you do well, also! :D
Punslinger chapter 1 . 6/5/2010
A very good take off from the prompt. Not surprising that an Aussie author took her characters down under. But why did you violate gammar with "Us brothers sat side by side"?
lookingwest chapter 1 . 6/5/2010
I was so excited when I saw that both you and Xen were participating this month! Yay, new writings from both of you! Super treat!

Oh my, and I received many chills after reading this! I absolutely love the way that you can establish characters by just dropping their names and then sort of giving us brief indication of their nature and dispositions, like you did with Samuel. Man, I have a friend Joe with a little brother, and I couldn't help but think of them. Frightening apocalyptic stuff! The setting and the whole plot was just so easy to pick up on, and not confusing and mucky like mine can get-you always are so clear, and this is only a snipet of what could be an entire story!

Absolutely loved the use of that first opening scene with Gran, and then how you moved back and forth with the theme of remembrance and light. "Smeared" was excellent word choice to describe the comet in the sky, very poetic.

Best of luck in the WCC!
Narq chapter 1 . 6/5/2010
This is a lot better!

You made great use of the summary, too, telling us about the commet!

and the shelters - the Hell - them being burried underground - is a lot clearer here.

Also, Claire and the brother's relation has also improved a lot!

good luck for WCC!

(and thanks!)

xenolith chapter 1 . 6/5/2010
Ahh, this was spooky! I think it was just enough detail to set the scene but leave it vauge enough, dark enough, as it were, to be really fitting. I liked it. Man, you've got an active imagination Sophie, you can pretty much write about anything! The ending was great, too. That last line. Nice take on the promtpt, and good luck in the WCC!