She was walking down the street, whistling to herself. Night had fallen quickly, but she was almost home. She threw her head back and stared at the sky. Stars were sprinkled across it randomly, but it was as though a thousand eyes were watching her, smiling down at her. She smiled back.
She turned off the street and entered the woods. She didn’t usually like the forest much, but it was only a short walk and faster than taking the long way around. Today, however, she felt strong and confident.
Suddenly, she felt something curl around her wrist, then she was yanked backwards. Her mouth opened in shock. This was not how the night was supposed to end.
It was so dark; she only saw the silhouette of a tall man. Then she felt the shove right before she tumbled backwards onto the ground. The twigs snapped beneath her and her hands hurt as she caught herself. She tried to push herself up.
All of a sudden something hurtled through the air and she felt the force of the blow right before she blacked out.
The sounds were the first to return. She thought she heard soft scuttling and was reminded of the time her little sister kept a pet mouse and hid it in her room. The same panic as back then shot through her now. She hated small animals, as her sister had perfectly well known.
As feeling returned to her limbs, she realized the ground beneath her was hard and uneven. It reminded her of the few times she’d gone camping with her family. The smell of dirt filled the air. Normally, she would have inhaled this and thought summer was almost here, but all she felt now was dread. Where was she?
When her eyes finally opened, everything was black.
“A great novel is the record of how a character fights with death.”
-James Scott Bell, Write Your Novel From the Middle
He turned on the lights and squinted in surprise. Cob webs covered the place from head to toe, but the light bulbs must have been replaced recently. He shivered. This was where they were meeting? He could only imagine: Dark writers had a strange fondness of odd places.
Carefully, he worked his way inside, making sure not to get the thin threads glued to his hair.
The chair creaked as he moved it…Or was that a different sound? He cocked his head.
Suddenly, the light flicked off and his head was jerked backwards. A terrified scream escaped his lips.
©2018, Friday Fictioneers 12 January 2018
She rounded the corner and held her nose, trying to escape the smell. They’d have to clear this place out, she thought, sighing. A grimy toilet was inside the tiny shed.
She rolled up her sleeves, then paused. Maybe she’d ask her husband to do it. She hated cleaning out things and with her allergies, it was even worse.
She was about to turn back, when something caught her eye. She stepped inside the shed, looking into the dark space behind the toilet. She sucked in a breath.
There, lying in the corner, was the corpse of her long-lost son.
© 2017 *edited version*
Friday Fictioneers, 1 December 2017
The bench he decided to sit on was wet with rain, but he didn’t really care. It had stopped raining an hour ago, but even that didn’t really register with him. He felt totally isolated, as though cut off from the world. Staring at the puddles on the ground, he felt the world keep spinning around him. Men and women rushed past him. Everyone had a place to go. Needed and wanted. For years he thought he belonged to them. He was a part of this wave of people, moving from place to place, always in motion.
Now he didn’t know where to go. Didn’t know what to do, didn’t know how to act. His world had come crashing down on top of him, everything he had so carefully built fell apart like a house of cards.
Something had changed, his mind registered. It took him a few seconds to realise what it was. He found himself locking eyes with a man through the puddle. Staring him straight in the eye, the man seemed to stand right before him.
When he slowly lifted up his head, he felt the bullet tear through his body a second before his eyes found the gun.
They had stripped him bare of everything. Now, finally, they had taken his life too.
Image from free photo stock pixabay.com
I looked down at the tiny cars way down below. They were so far away, they almost looked like toy cars. I sighed and turned back into the room hundreds of floors above.
“You sure you want to do this?”
The man opposite me nodded solemnly. He was down on one knee, looking at me with pleading eyes.
“I can’t do this no more.”
I stared into his sea green eyes, wishing I could tell him not to do this, telling him to go back home to his wife and pretend like nothing had happened.
Slowly, I raised my right arm and pointed the gun somewhere between those eyes. There was no way I could let him do that and he knew it.
Silently, the bullet tore threw his body.
When I turned back to the window to look down, the two cars were gone.
Sunday Photo Fiction, October 22nd 2017
I watched the hand curl around the door, the long fingernails digging into the wood. In the shadowy moonlight, I could see the knuckles turning white. The door creaked. It was standing half ajar, but I was sitting in the dark, hidden away from the outside. All I could see was the door. The door and the hand curled around it. And of course the shadow. It was so huge, it almost occupied the entire doorframe, the hulky shape blocking out the moon.
I shivered. I didn’t know what to do. My teeth were clamped together so hard, my jaw hurt, but I knew they would chatter as soon as I opened my mouth. It was so cold here. The floor was so cold, hard and wet. The hand moved a fragment of an inch, barely noticeable, but I was so fixated on it, I noticed it. The door creaked once more, now slowly opening wider. I wanted to scoot further into the corner I was in, but there was nowhere to go.
That was when the screaming started. Thousands of voices around me, begging for forgiveness.
FFfAW, Week of September 5, 2017
Photo prompt provided by artycaptures.wordpress.com
“Being a professional writer is a strange and wonderful thing – kind of a combination of a philosopher and hobo.”
He took one step at a time. Carefully placing one foot above the other, he hoisted himself up the steps. They were uneven and covered in grass, but he did not seem to notice. His thoughts were elsewhere; the steps a lifetime away.
He kept seeing the shocked face, inches from his. First the happiness, then the shock, then the twisted expression of hatred and pain. He hadn’t wanted to end it this way. He had wanted to take her with him. Lock her up and keep her close. But the order to remove her had come and he had to obey.
Without realising, he had reached the top of the steps. He stopped walking and shook his head, trying to remove the veil of images that covered his view.
He looked down at the village and took a deep breath. He would start his new life here, he thought. They would never find him.
He started down the steps when all of a sudden, he was wrenched backward and thrown to the ground.
The man above him sneered at him, his gun inches from his face. He felt a sense of déjà vu, then the fatal gunshot sounded.
FFfAW, Week of July 18, 2017
Photo prompt provided by J.S. Brand
Have you ever tried to write a thriller organically?
I’ve been mulling over mine for quite a bit now and I can never figure out how to keep the plot moving and fresh.
Reading this article by Steven James has been an eye-opener. He uses only these four questions, when he feels he gets stuck on the plot:
- “What would this character naturally do?”
- “How can I make things worse?”
- “How can I include a twist?”
- “What promises have I made as a writer that I have not yet kept?”
And somehow they lead to new plot points, new ideas that can be developed further as the novel progresses.
If you want to read more about writing organically, follow the link to the article, where Steven James explains how he used his questions to write his own novel, Every Deadly Kiss.