Notes of Madness

Avatar Author: Robert Quick A no-name, aspiring author who can't stop writing. Looking ahead, he strives for perfection. Shackled by various forms of entertainment, he dreams of success. Most stories here are an invitation to YOU, to join me in cre... Read Bio

Carl woke to the shrill sound of pan pipes being played outside the door to his chamber. Angry at being awoken, he pulled on his robe, ripping it in the process. Then he remembered that his host, Lord Ison, had an idiot son who wandered the house late at night. Perhaps, he reasoned, I could persuade him to stop that infernal racket or convince him to trade the offending instrument away for dross.

The sound died abruptly as he pulled the door to his room open. Looking around the vast hallway, Carl found no trace of the boy. New-fangled electrical lamps along the walls flickered mockingly as if in silent laughter.

He waited for some time in the damp air that oft drifted in and out of the house without regard for wall, window, or door. Listening carefully, he was eager to follow any sound that would give his investigation direction.

A few minutes passed. Carl grew bored. He returned to his room, tossed his robe aside and climbed back into his bed. There he lay, restless, as the haunting music began anew.

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Comments (7 so far!)

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  1. Avatar BiC

    Excellent choice of words, Robert. The ‘Notes of Madness’ was accented, in my opinion, by the sentence: ‘Carl grew bored’. Not “tired” or “sleepy” but ‘bored’. Well done sir! Question: Is it ‘shrill’ or “shrilling”?

  2. Avatar August 2nd

    In the 1st paragraph, Carl’s thoughts should be either italicized or quoted to make it clear that they’re something special within the narrative.

    In the 3rd paragraph, ‘for some time" appears to be misplaced. I suspect that putting immediately after “waited” would fix it up. That same sentence is a bit too long and expresses too many ideas. I’d suggest breaking the sentence immediately before ‘scarcely’ and then change ‘straining’ to ‘he strained’.

    Similar if lesser issues happen in the 1st sentence of the 2nd paragraph. “Open” is fine where it is but it could also be moved to follow “pulled”. The point about the oil lamps impedes the flow of the sentence in which it’s located. I don’t know what that point serves except to establish a time frame for the story.

  3. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    It’s a bit like Chinese water torture. :)

  4. Avatar Wednesday [PJ] ((LoA))

    I agree with August on the first point: the apparent switch from first to third person jars the flow.

    It does indeed sound like torture: like my flatmates screaming at all hours of the night.

  5. Avatar Garsecg

    A great start to the challenge. This is basically what life is like in my apartment during the school year, except it’s dance music instead of pan pipes.

  6. Avatar Robert Quick


  7. Avatar August 2nd

    I quite like the edits that you’ve made, Robert. Even the ones that no one commented on, such as changing “something from my collection” to “dross”, if I recall correctly.