Write It Sideways

Excerpt Critique: “Rails,” Paranormal Mystery

Please welcome today’s aspiring author, “rathrift,” ready for a peer critique. Take a moment to read the excerpt, then please leave some thoughtful feedback in the comment section below.

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Paranormal Mystery

*Please note: This excerpt is taken from the beginning of the work.

Cars lined the streets like linked sausages around Canaan Height’s town hall. A deputy, directing the traffic, slowed us down. Hollis Wolford leaned into our car, tobacco juice staining the corner of his mouth.

“Head over to the church’s lot. Ain’t no parking here.”

His finger pointed toward the Methodist church. I couldn’t help but focus on his lazy eye, the right one. When he looked toward the church, the wayward eye drifted elsewhere.

“Have to wonder how he got into the sheriff’s department,” I said, sliding off the sticky car seat.

I grabbed a funeral home fan to take along, the one showing Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. I didn’t expect it to help, being July and with hot-heads gathering at the hall.

Enoch rushed me to the door. “C’mon, Rhododendron Maximum. We’re missing the Ol’ Time Bloomers Raiders.” How relieved I was my mother didn’t matriculate in Latin school.

“We’re not missing anything. They haven’t sung any new songs since John Polk died.”

He steered me around a cluster of men gathered behind the chairs and spoke above the chatter. “Airplane crashes killed many a great song writer. Buddy Holly, Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas.”

A row of chairs showed two vacant seats. Helen Lipscomb sat in front of them. I took a deep breath before surging ahead. “At least John made a respectable exit. The others could learn from him.”

We climbed through a line of legs, offering “Excuse me’s” and “Pardon me’s.” Enoch settled in his seat as I leaned over and whispered in Helen’s ear.

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