Hi, so I'm 17 and I've been writing for a while but only this summer have I recently started really getting serious about it. I think it was my AP Literature class that really got me into writing more and I'm actually in the middle of writing a short story right now. Here is the general plot summary and main character description, so please tell me your thoughts! It's only my first real thing I've been serious about but do help me improve as a writer. Any critique or comments are gladly appreciated. Main Characters Allan – Lead detective of the Cindy Crawford case. He is encumbered by the stress of his work and a turbulent relationship with his wife. Incompetent in social interactions, Allan an absolutely brilliant but flawed detective who is also a recovering gambling addict. His feigned cynicism is an affectation for his emotional problems and he is also a neurotic, partially obsessive, and admittedly cowardly when it came to making big decisions. Bret – The more outgoing of the two, Bret is laid back compared to Allan’s pessimistic and flawed personality. He is much more of a joker and tends not to care much about the consequences of his actions. Indifferent about the outcome of the case, he provides Allan with moral support but is equally brilliant within his own deductions. Allan is somewhat jealous of Bret because he is a much stronger character in comparison. *SPOILERS* However, by the end of the story he is revealed as the sadistic dark side of Allan, releasing Allan’s frustrations on the women around town through murder. He does not care for killing his wife in cold blood; consumed by hatred, malice, and complete indifference, Bret is revealed to be a vicious misanthrope with no regard for human life and a sadist. Sharon – She is Allan’s lover but in a marriage that is falling apart. Very emotional and prone to angry outbursts, she is frustrated by her husband’s lack of love and faith for her. She tells him that she loves him constantly despite all her nagging though. Although she is demanding and somewhat selfish in her needs (as well as acting cold and ruthless towards Allan), she is willing to sacrifice herself given the opportunity. ____________________________________ The plot begins with Allan Owen working a case where a woman, Cindy Crawford, was murdered after traveling in the woods at night. She has been brutally beaten up, not raped though. Her corpse is bloody and tattered with gore but nothing else shows from the outside. It would seem from the marks on her hand that she was dragged outside from somewhere. Bret McClintock scoffs at the crime and is unfazed by the whole thing but Allan reprimands him for his indifference. Bret dismisses the case as poppycock stating that the killer was probably crazy and that they would find him soon. Allan, ever cautious and vigilant, warns Bret not to be stupid. The latter man sarcastically tells his comrade to focus on being careful with his money. Allan goes through a late night poker game with a few other people in his area. He is secretly a gambling maniac who is struggling with his addiction. His problem has cost him over ten thousands of dollars and he is currently in debt to many of his friends that gamble with him. He goes through a few swings and starts off well but ends up losing five thousand dollars in a high stakes poker game where a crucial failure to fold in the final round leads to his full house losing to a quad. He leaves the bar and vomits, imagining the people around him to be rats gnawing on his skin. The detective comes home around midnight to a furious wife in Sharon Owen. Sharon lambasts Allan, ripping him and telling him how worthless he is. When he reveals that he lost five thousand dollars in a high stakes game, Sharon slaps him and begin yelling at Allan. He, dejected already by his loss, imagines strangling Sharon and beating her up but as soon as his own hallucinations end he notices her still slapping him but he doesn’t feel it. She is frustrated from his lack of attention, and asks Allan why he doesn’t quit his habit. Their children wake up and manage to calm Sharon down, as Allan is ashamed of himself but cannot say anything further. He goes to bed and dreams of suicide; shooting himself in a dark room. One week later, after finding out more about the Cindy Crawford case, Allan and Bret are brought to another scene of a murder in the woods, one of Jennifer Anderson. This girl was murdered in the same way. Allan ponders over the pattern of the murders and tries to find a connection and soon enough brilliantly deduces that the woman must have been killed in the abandoned factory because of the factory card found near her corpse. Connected with the other evidence from the earlier case as well as his own research with the families of the deceased, Bret concludes that the girl earlier had also been killed in the factory. Unfortunately, nobody has worked there for years. Allan is shocked by Bret’s interest in the case and is relieved that he has help but Bret dismisses it as simple deduction. They notice a blood-written message on Jennifer’s stomach, “Clue number two” and neither of them seem to know what this means. . Allan once again goes to the poker club at late after watching Bret nearly crash his car while high on another joint. They both split off in different directions and this time Allan does not even get to the final round of poker. Taunted by his peers for losing so quickly, he tries to get into a fight but ends up getting kicked out of the club. Bret leaves the place and joins Allan on the street, laughing at their luck. Allan, angry at Bret’s chill demeanor and also slightly drunk, gets into an altercation with Bret which he quickly loses again. Allan begins to cry and asks Bret to just leave him here to drink himself to death but his friend refuses. Bret begins to give Allan advice on his poker strategies but Allan really can’t concentrate and breaks down completely. The case is doing a toll on him and his gambling addiction as well as being drunk has hurt him. Sharon once again berates Allan for coming home late from work but Allan is more indifferent this time, constantly thinking about the case and hiding his gambling from her. His drunken demeanor and clear signs of a fight furthermore get Sharon infuriated but she does not slap him. Instead, she begins crying but he does not care and mocks her emotions calling them unneeded. When she is about to talk again, Allan slaps her in the face and tells her to shut up. Sharon, shocked by the aggressiveness in Allan’s behavior, goes upstairs to her room and silently weeps, as caustically told to do by her husband. Allan laughs and grabs another beer bottle from the freezer before he notices his youngest son -who had gone downstairs after hearing the argument - crying in a corner. Allan, realizing all that he has done, tells the son that he is going to leave the house for a while. Allan leaves the house and walks aimlessly. He makes his way to a hotel where he checks himself into a room where he bawls and attempts to commit suicide by hanging himself but the rope breaks. Realizing that it’s hopeless to try that, Allan decides not to ever tell anyone about this event and makes a tearful apology to Sharon on the phone before crying himself to sleep. Once again, he has a dream of suicide. A murder happens in another week. On the way to the case, Allan and Bret discuss Allan’s marriage problems and how they are getting exacerbated. Bret suggests divorce as a solution but Allan refuses stating that he still loves his wife and that she refused to call the cops on him and would let him back in the house if he stayed away for a week. Bret suggests that this loyalty was an emotional obsession was really unhealthy and that it was destroying him internally more than his gambling addiction; Allan shrugs. The girl is found murdered the same way only this time, her face is mutilated with teeth marks and absolutely torn apart. Her skin is eviscerated and organs missing and a gift card left next to her stating, “It will all be over.” Allan is disturbed and Bret tries to console him, unsuccessfully. Annoyed by his inability to solve the case, Allan goes out for a gigantic night of drinking, only this time he watches Bret gamble, as he himself does not have any money with him. He notices how his friend is having a good time, partying, winning money, etc. His jealousy grows and he asks his friend how he is having such good luck while his life is going down the drain. Bret smiles and just states that Allan needs to learn to relax; the case would come to him. A drunk woman suddenly grabs Bret and begins passionately making out with him, as Bret asks if they can go to his car. Allan, desperately wanting some measure of life and pleasure, joins Bret and the two of them enter a threesome with the girl. More women pile into Bret’s car and an orgy begins. Allan begins to hallucinate in the middle of their sex that the woman turn into the dead corpses of the earlier cases and screams for help. Nobody hears him and though he tries to warn Bret, it is as if his voice doesn’t matter and he begins to feel raped. Overwhelmed with guilt and disgust, Allan finally escapes to his car and leaves. He returns to his hotel room after his disturbing experience and hears a message on his cell phone. “Staying at until you clean up your disloyal act. The kids are with me”. The detective shrugs and drinks another can of beer to end his night of heavy drinking, passing out on the floor. A week later, Allan decides to visit his mother in law but finds out that they went camping in the woods. Desperate and worrying about their safety, Alan goes to find them but notices that their tent has been slaughtered. The children lie massacred and near them is a note saying “If you want Sharon, come to you-know-where.” Allan mourns the loss of his children but holds his tears as he attempts to find their killer and get revenge. On the drive to the abandoned factory, Allan begins hallucinating again of himself suffocating in the noxious fumes of the factory. He tries to convince himself that it’s not real but more illusions befall him. The dead corpses from earlier seem to try to stop his car and his children’s faces keep staring at him through the window with blank eyes. Allan finally crashes into the factory, screaming and nearly dead. He gets out of his car, bloodied and having nearly broke all his limbs but manages to stumble into the factory. In darkness, bleeding and nearly dead, Allan draws out his hand gun and cautiously walks, feeling more faint as he nearly collapses. He hears an undistinguishable voice start berating and taunting him, calling him a coward. The voice suggests that Allan shoot himself and that it’s all over. Allan refuses to do so and shoots his gun in the air in anger. Bret walks appears from nowhere and begins laughing, holding Sharon’s barely alive body. Allan is confused for a moment and struggles to move; Bret begins to feel up his wife in front of him and puts her on the ground. Bret reveals that he was the killer the whole time and mocks Allan for his vices. Calling him for being spineless, Bret begins to kiss the injured and tearful Sharon on the ground as she is dying. Allan grows angry and tackles Bret before the two begin to fight each other, with Allan gaining the upper hand. Before he can shoot Bret though, Allan has memories of the corpses within his hallucinations as well as his suicide. Allan realizes that Bret was his split personality; his alter ego that was created with all the traits that Allan had wished he could have. In order to release his frustrations and stresses, Allan had created Bret, another character within himself. Unfortunately, Allan’s own neuroticism has influenced this personality as well, creating a sadistic and misanthropic dark side of him. Allan shoots Bret in the stomach, as Bret continues to taunt him for being too late. Allan feels sick and slow all of a sudden; shooting Bret had inadvertently killed himself. He drops down, crying for all the sins that he committed as Bret. Sharon calls out for Allan’s name and asks why he did this, she soon dies. Allan, silently weeping for his mistakes and with no hope for his future, lies down and stares at ceiling as he dies of blood loss.