I recently took a writing workshop on “beginnings” and I thought I’d share the outcome of one of the writing exercises we did. We were given a list of opening sentences, which were taken from numerous novels, and were asked to continue the story.
Mine is my usual action-packed dark story, which could possibly be turned into a longer piece. By the end of it, I was somehow reminded of Misery by Stephen King and the scenes where Paul is lying on the bed being abused by Annie Wilkes. And at the beginning I started out envisioning it like the scene at the beach from Little Bee by Chris Cleave. Odd how those two should fit together..
Anyway, I hope you enjoy! And I do hope it’s not too dark.. I think there was a collective releasing of breaths when I finished up reading it out loud to the class. Though I don’t know why – I keep envisioning a happy ending somewhere down the road, beyond what happens in the snippet of the story that I focused on telling.
They shoot the white girl first. I didn’t know they actually meant to carry out their threat and so I stand frozen, unable to move, watching them point the gun at the second girl, and knowing that my time will come.
I snap out of my frozen state. I turn and run. I hear the voices behind me, shouting orders. Gunshots follow me, but I have started zig-zagging my way through the trees, so they don’t hit me. I hear footsteps and heavy breathing. My own breaths are coming ragged and I don’t know how much longer I can go on.
Suddenly, I have left the forest behind me and the sun seems to punch me in the face. It is too hot; my skin feels like it is burning.
The footsteps keep coming behind me; then I hear the shot, feel it going through me and tossing me to the ground.
I smell the foul stench of sweat and bad breath, then feel a kick to my ribs.
I scream and my eyes fly open.
Sunlight almost blinds me and I squint. Disoriented, I try to figure out what happened. Had I died? Or was I somewhere between life and death? I didn’t even remember whether I had passed out or not.
All of a sudden, I smell the foul stench again. I scream, feeling nauseated.
“Hey there,” a voice by my ear. “Slept well?” Then, I feel a punch to my already broken ribs.
I scream again and the figure I now recognise as a man laughs. I recognise him as the man who shot the white girl, the same laugh that escaped his lips after the shot.