Question

B&A: Care to critique? Harshly is appreciated?

Also, for the "insert group name here" parts, any ideas on the name of a group of mortals who are sent to guard and make sure no mystical creatures don't do anything to blow their existance? Thanks, and enjoy :}

Sirens blare in the distance as I run down a dark alley way. I spit my burgundy hair out of my mouth while grabbing the wrist of the person behind me, there's no time to look back. "Come on, Cellair! We need to get to the portal before they catch us." I turn a corner and my destination comes into a view, a three story cement building. Remains of yellow paint cover the ugly, grey stone here and there, the windows and doors boarded up with cracked pieces of wood. A roof had once covered the building but in its place stand random pieces of wood sticking up and broken shingles on the ground. I tug Cellair to let her know where we were going, when she pulls back.

"No. No no no no!" she says, out of breath. "I am not going in there, Rayna. Are you trying to kill us?"

I look at her. Why can't she just come along quietly like she always does? The sirens grow louder, any second they will turn the corner and we'll be screwed. "The building is safe, why would there be a portal in a building that could collapse any minute? The Order of the Realm wasn't that stupid. Besides, this building is better than being caught by the insert name here." It's true, the insert group name here were cruel people, mortals hired by the king to make sure no Mystics were caught in their natural form or doing something they shouldn't. My friend, Kefner got caught shifting, like Cellair and I had, and was taken away by the insert group name here. He was released a year later from their prison and told stories of magical shackles that restrict one's shifting abilities and suck the energy out of you. They then put you to work, washing their cars, shining their uniforms, cleaning the holding chambers, being imprisoned by the insert group name here is worse than mortal prison.

Cellair pauses for a moment, which causes my heart to stir. A bead of sweat trickles down my face from the hot Australian heat and the running. She opens her mouth to speak when a blinding light appears from the corner, taking us both by surprise. I swear, earning a glare from Cellair. "Just come on!" I say, running towards the building leaving Cellair to follow if she wants. Quickly, I shift into a fox and leap through a hole in the window where the wooden boards forgot to cover. I feel the coldness of the cement floor through my fur as I shift back into my normal, humanoid form. Not a second after the last bit of red fur disappears am I pushed to the ground by a golden retriever. I guess Cellair liked the building better. She silently shifts back into her humanoid form as we hear a car door slam.

"They're as good as dead, mate," a man with a thick Australian accent says. Their footsteps tell me that they are approaching the building and I silent my rapid breathing. Even if they do not dare to come into the building, Cellair and I are just under the window sill. They could easily reach down and get us.

"Anyone who has brains knows that this building has been condemned for years, even a mouse can cause the thing to collapse." A second, huskier voice replies. I look over at Cellair whose black curls have retaken their shape and whose chocolate eyes look up in fear.

"They are shifters, creatures not known to be the smartest. We'll let them be." The footsteps recede, but I do not dare breathe until I hear the doors close. The cars pull away and I crawl away from the window, exhausted from the running and the transforming.

"I hate you," Cellair says, clasping her chest with her pale hands. I smile, I'm not known for following rules all the time, nor do I ever want to be.

"Admit it, you had fun, and did you see the faces of that mortal couple when they saw me shift into a lion? I thought they were going to die of fright." I'm awarded another glare from my friend, who stands up and walks towards me. I should probably get up too before she decided to kick my head in.

"So, we're in here, now what?" Scanning our surroundings, we seem to be in a living room. Nothing special, just an old woven rug covered in layers of dust and a mouldy couch that has hints of it once being red. I walk over to the couch and pick up the middle seat couching (not sure if spelt right). There lies the only thing that allows me to stand being in this building. I pick up a metal flashlight; slightly cool against my skin from the cooler summer nights Australia decides to give its people. "Of course. You're not afraid to shift in from of mortals or afraid of a condemned building, but as soon as you're in the dark you freeze. You're impossible Rayna," she lectures, a hint of amusement rides her soft voice.

Answers

The first two basic rules of writing:

Rule #1. don't use present tense. It's too hard to make it sounds good...unless you're already a famous author....stick with using past tense only. that's how 99.9% of stories are told. it's easier.

Rule #2. stop telling. show your action, don't tell it.

so..

Sirens blare in the distance as I run down a dark alley way.

can be:

Sirens blared in the distance over and over, alerting the whole world of our escape into an impossibly dark alley that swallowed us whole.

(that is, if the alley is pitch black, if it's just dim, then mention something that gives that effect)

It's not the best example, I know. But I think you can get the idea.....the sirens are calling attention to you and you're escaping.....and you're running into an alley that's so dark....you literally disappear into it (the swallowed whole part).

I admit I didn't read the whole thing. you'll have to go back and separate it into paragraphs with spaces....it's hard to read as a whole jumble of words stacked on top of each other.

I did skim it though, and it's all tell tell tell...no show and all in present tense...so, my opinion is that you redo the whole thing with those 2 rules in mind.

#1