Belly Of The Beast This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 27, 2013
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Darkness was all they knew; it was all they could remember, it was all they could ever see; it consumed their surroundings and dangled a demoralising shadow over their very souls.
They survived by scavenging for food as it fell down from the pure night sky above them; the moonless sky that would never break dawn nor have a sun that set. It did not matter what is was that they found, for they never knew any different. Anything that fell down on top of them or around them was food of some sort. Sometimes they would hear strange noises around them echoing within their large, but enclosed area. They followed their senses and always found the source of the noise and the strange creature that made it. The creatures always breathed heavily and shook in fear as it either mooed, baaed or clucked. Most of these creatures either died in the fall or were torn apart before they had even landed; even if they did survive they were usually too injured to run away, so they were the first to go. The girls often liked to keep the surviving animals as pets, attempting to look after them, but of course, they too went when the food supply ran short.

The lack of privacy was made up for in their inability to see, but it was still uncomfortable to grow up clothes-less and bare. Their eyes were always resting in their silent sleep, even when they were awake or had them open it was if they were tight shut. Throughout their life they had never known if their own eyes were open or closed.
The fowl stench of rotting meat constantly lingered as it was left dangling off the carcasses they feasted on. It filled the foul air they breathed; but with each inhalation of the toxic fumes, they then breathed out of with a sigh of relief, as they continued to live on. They suffered the slow poisoning of their lungs as they lived on for decades, their bodies tainted by their unhygienic surroundings; every touch was moist and marshy with excrement and decay.

As children the group were lost in the wilderness of their bare and murky cave of sludge, but able to have suitable space, but that time had long passed and they had matured. Every day for the past twenty years of their life they had gorged on the contents of their den as it continued to fall from the sky, day upon day, and nothing more. They would stumble and fall all day long while scavenging, unable to hold their balance as their feet sank in the uneven surface. The walk itself was hard enough as they tried to remain upright, but the cave shook on occasion, destroying any remnants of balance that they actually had. The shaking was gradual, rising on the right side before falling while the left side did the opposite motion. The five survivors of the fall would huddle together, holding each other and keeping them up; the shaking would rattle them in every direction as the cave launched itself in various directions with vicious and aggressive force. They would hold on for dear life, clawing at the ground to hold them steady.
Although it was a rarity they were always prepared, until one day; the cave had suddenly over turned! They plummeted down to what was the very back of the cave, plunging into the soft ground that caught them.
The five of them stood up, weary of what had happened, after all, this was unusual.

A sudden spec appeared above them! The eldest male rose his hands up hiding his face from the light. The others looked up as he called to them, hiding them from it, shielding them with is body. The light suddenly shot across, slicing the roof above them creating a long line of light that gazed down on them. The centre was quickly covered by a brief shadow as it reached into the cave and gripped its ceiling. There was a sudden grunt and with a tear the light was split open into a large hole! The light glared; their eyes were finally allowed to work after all that time.
The group flailed around looking at their surroundings, bewildered by the strange scenery. The pink surface that encased them and the rotting animals that they had feasted from were all visible.
The light was reassuring; all they had ever wanted was freedom from that place, but they could never trust something they had never seen before. The light was magnificent and magical, but it hurt their eyes; was it an omen? They could only distrust, for they knew nothing about judgment. The cave was all they had ever known, and nobody knew what was on the other side of the bright light; was it death? Were the heavens finally opening for them? They had no idea, nor could they come to a confident conclusion as to what it truly was.

The light was simply there, it never moved or reacted to them in any way; it simply stared down at them intriguing them. The second eldest was hesitant, but the most curious. As he stepped closer, his toe stubbed a large rock. The rock had never decayed nor had it ever been used in anyway, other than to club the creatures to death; it had fallen many years ago, almost striking them down. As youths it almost crushed them, but now fully grown, the eldest gripped it and swung himself around, releasing the rock into the air. It flew up into the light and they all turned, unsure of what it was they were hoping for.
The rock hit the ground outside! It had skipped and chipped against rocks and softened its fall against the grass. They heard it and as they listened even closer they heard the swooshing of the wind. What kind of world was it beyond their dark cave?
The youngest were the most adventurous, being not as used to the surroundings as the others were; having known there is another world on the other side, the youngest was eager to explore. She dug her fingers into the squelching wall and heaved herself up. As she continued to climb up towards the light she encouraged her siblings to follow. The penultimate youngest soon found his adventuresome attitude and he too braved the climb. As the pair reached the top, they both climbed out, helping each other as they went. The young man quickly poked his head down, blocking the light briefly, reassuring them of the strange new world that they had yet to explore. The next eldest quickly burst off of the floor and onto her feet, eager to join them through the portal of light.

The two eldest were hesitant, they continued to wait patiently, pacing around nervously. Although she had been in the darkness for the longest, she was coming through, and gradually the eldest realised that it would be best, as it could surely not get worse.
He had been in the darkness all of his life, like the others, but unlike the others he had been the most comfortable. While being surrounded by darkness he felt like he could relax, it was where he was most at ease; either through habit or just because it happened to be what he was used to.
A tender hand was placed on his shoulder as his elder sister comforted his uneasiness. He looked at her within the spotlight that shone down on them, and for the first time he could actually see her. He avoided her eyes, attempting to hide his cowardice, but she looked through it and guided him to the wall. He nodded lightly and accepted that they had to move on; this was no life for them.

As his head peaked through the portal, a hand gripped his wrist, and he was born again from the makeshift caesarean that had been cut into flesh. He stumbled out, kneeling on the ground, unable to get up. The sky was even brighter than he had thought, almost blinding him, just as it had done the first time he gazed upon it as he looked up to Rhea’s breast.
He staggered away rubbing his eyes, hoping to adjust them to the light. When he finally looked back he saw a young man helping his sister out of the hole. As he began to absorb his new surroundings he discovered what the hole truly was; it was a gash in the stomach of the Titan that they were stood upon. The man had knocked down the brute singlehandedly, and with his weapon he slit his stomach open, giving the survivors the freedom they had never had; for even at birth they were wrenched from their mother and consumed, disowned by the father who swallowed them whole. They were cast away into the belly of that beastly god, through nothing but fear of his own destruction, fear brought upon by a mere prophecy. However, as the cannibal laid there helpless and in his forced slumber, he would soon realise how his own act of violence aided the prophecy he so gladly ran from.

The siblings dropped from the Titan they reluctantly called their father. Their rescuer quickly led them away. From the distance of Mount Olympus they saw Cronus wake. The Titan rose to his feet, but quickly collapsed, grasping his bleeding stomach. He slowly crawled away, heading towards his kingdom. He turned his head, glaring straight at the impossible son who had come to fulfil his destiny! He roared out in anger, and in pain, leaving a trail of blood as he continued to crawl away, plundering towards his throne upon Mount Othrys.
Having granted the merciful act of sparing the life of Cronus, their saviour sat them down to discuss the inevitable punishment that they would soon place against him. Their saviour stood tall in his white robes, beaming his hatred for his father into the sky like a strike of lighting; for he was Zeus, and the end of the golden age was nigh. The seeds had been sown, and soon they would spring into a decade of devastation. The family feud had sparked revenge in the Olympians and the will to survive in the Titans. Their mutual odium clashed with sparks of lightning, and so began the rage of the Titanomachy War.

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Quartermaster This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm
The topic was orginal and interesting. Your repetition of Darkness/it was in the beginning hooks the audience. I would suggest using more active and varied verbs. In my opinion you used "to be' excessively. I wanted to get to know the characters more. Show us their character traits by describing their actions instead of telling us who they are. Also reveal the number of individuals, and their ages earlier in the story for the sake of clarity. 
BlackbeltJames replied...
Dec. 4, 2013 at 5:59 pm
Thanks for the comment, the feedback was quite useful. Hopefully I can incorporate it into my most recent efforts. :)
E.J.Mathews This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 29, 2013 at 11:02 pm
This piece was very discriptive, and confusing at some times. I really liked the twist at the end, and the overall story, however sometimes your choice of words and punctuation ripped me apart from the story. Overall, this was a pretty good story. Keep up the good work. (Sorry it has taken me so long to read, I will get to the other article you asked of me right now!)
BlackbeltJames replied...
Oct. 2, 2013 at 2:24 am
Nah don't worry about it, I know the feeling of not having any time. Hmm ok, well I suppose it may come with what I'm trying to do, by not giving away the total truth it causes confusion and necessarily mystery, but I'm still glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the feedback :)
Kestrel135This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 26, 2013 at 3:19 pm
I like the mythology you put into it; fits perfectly. It was very intruiging, and I hadn't really thought about the Greek god children while inside Krohnos. Good persepetive! 
BlackbeltJames replied...
Aug. 26, 2013 at 6:14 pm
Thanks for the comment, I'm glad you enjoyed it. And yep, you hit the nail on the head, the perspective was exactly what I was going for. :D
OldYoungOne said...
Aug. 8, 2013 at 9:58 am
Great piece. From the beginning I gpt the idea that you may have been talking about Greel Mythology. I loved ho you took the story on the inside and gave a whole new perscpective. In total honesty I think you descrbing the details gives the reader a better understanding. I mean what more can I say? I actually became excited reading this! Great job for not making this story a disaster.
BlackbeltJames replied...
Aug. 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm
Thanks for the support, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I just wanted to give this story a new life by making it mysterious and told from a different perspective. :)
WriteOrWrong said...
Aug. 5, 2013 at 6:00 pm
I love how mythical this is! It took me a while to get into it, I was struggling a bit to focus in the beginning but the second I hit 'a sudden spec appeared...' everything started making sense in a really intriguing way. It is clear why this piece earned an Editor's choice :) Now that this story has been fully developed I would suggest to reread it and pick out the parts you like. From that you could continue to build in order to more match a certain format you want to follow. Find ... (more »)
BlackbeltJames replied...
Aug. 5, 2013 at 6:23 pm
I understand what your saying, but I don't particularly want to say something, the story is as it is already, that cannot be changed and the morals are already there within the story. All I wanted was to reimagine it in a new light and make it more exciting, as well as unexpected. I just wanted to give it a modern twist, but yeah, I'll take on board what you've said and see how I can apply it, thanks :)
Amaranthinium This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 3, 2013 at 10:47 am
I really like the story here; Greek mythology is amazing. Your idea and the action/setting/characters that you describe are interesting, and you present everything in a unique enough way that you kept me guessing.   However, I saw some problems, mostly with the way you told your story:   -you tend to repeat things and descriptions a lot: within sentences, paragraphs, and even the whole story. (ie you should probably tell me about them eating/scavenging all at once- bu... (more »)
Amaranthinium This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 3, 2013 at 10:54 am
lol that was more long and nitpicky than i thought it would be. i'd just like to reiterate that it's still a really good story, and you're a good writer. there are just some things that you need to fix, but few of us write perfectly at this age anyway sooo...yeah. i hope all my rambling helps you!
BlackbeltJames replied...
Aug. 3, 2013 at 11:52 am
Wow, that is a lot. In the end, we can only improve by nitpicking and I'm glad that you saw the potential in me, so I was worth your time critiquing. Thanks for the feedback, its a huge help :D
None0 said...
Aug. 2, 2013 at 1:08 am
First, let me just say that your writing here is very good, at the very least above average. The only major thing that needs work here is using more showing language vs. telling language. Everything else is relatively minor, however, the amount of telling language used to describe the actions here makes the writing somewhat less vivid than it should be.   Fix the telling language and this piece would be close to perfect.
BlackbeltJames replied...
Aug. 2, 2013 at 6:30 am
I think I can see what your saying, thanks for the comment :)
LoonyLoopyLupin said...
Jul. 31, 2013 at 4:17 pm
I was unsure at the beginning: I couldn't tell where you were going with any of this, but then I hit a certain point where it all clicked into place that you were referring to Greek mythology. From that moment on, I was totally engrossed in your prose. A short story hasn't done that to me in a very long time, great job! (: And congrats on the Editor's Choice!
BlackbeltJames replied...
Jul. 31, 2013 at 4:27 pm
Most people have heard the story, but very few can get this without being told before the ending. I'm glad it hooked you and that you enjoyed it, thanks :D
Mckay This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm
How old are you? Wow...I'm impressed. I wish I wrote prose half as good as this. I've been trying to write prose. I start of well, but never end. I seen to lack patience. Anywho, this is amazing. I love the allusions. Your detalis are very vivid. Love the suspense in it. Congrats on the Editors' Chioce; you really deserve it. 
BlackbeltJames replied...
Jul. 30, 2013 at 5:59 pm
Wow, thanks. And I'm 17; I've been writing since I was 13/14 :D
It just takes a lot of practice; I have read a lot of varing lengths of fiction and I have just experimented with methods of how to reveal the plot and twists (I love a twist and it motivates to get to write it just so I can reveal it).
One of the best pieces of advise that I have told a friend of mine is to tell the story, not explain facts; try not to make the reader feel like an idiot, don't make anything ... (more »)
Mckay This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 31, 2013 at 1:37 pm
Thank you for the advice; I'll definitely keep it in mind and in practice. Your prose obviously demonstrates dedication and practice and a dispostion to please and intrigue the reader. For a seventeen year old, you write like a professional. I can't wait until you're older. 
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