Returning

Along with the workshop on “beginnings” I took, which I talked about in my last post, I also went to a workshop that was called “No Place Like Mine”, focusing on the setting of a story.

It was quite an interesting and informative class, where I realised that it really doesn’t matter too much if you haven’t been to the actual place you are writing about. If you do your research accordingly, then you don’t need to get a feel for the place. What’s most important, is how the character feels about the place.

I really found that piece of advice intriguing – since I have never visited the place where my own novel takes place, due to several reasons. Therefore, having done a ton of research before I started writing, I hope I am qualified enough to write about the place!

 

In the workshop, we also did some writing on our own projects, focusing on a specific place that is important to our novel. In the place I chose from my novel, there was a crime committed prior to the story’s plot, which the main character, Olivia, must eventually return to. It happened in her living room with and by people she loved, so I apologise beforehand if it has a rather dark vibe to it!

***

Taking a deep breath, she pushed open the door. The hall was dark and she could smell the dust in the air. Olivia thought she could smell the blood again too, but she knew they had cleaned that up. Taking a deep breath, she stepped forward and switched on the light.

The glow of the lamp barely lit up the space, as always, but there was no need to see things more closely. She knew where the dust was and the spiderwebs that caught in her hair as she moved. She knew where the wall had cracks from taking too many punches. She knew it all. All the little things that haunted her in her sleep.

Olivia moved into the living room, sucking in her breath when she saw the blood. She blinked a few times, until it was gone, but she thought she could still see the outlines on the floor and wall opposite her, even though she knew for a fact it was gone.

© 2017

***

-Fia

They Shoot The White Girl First.

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.

© 2017

***

-Fia