Monday, April 02, 2007

New Beginning 250

Wet, moody gusts of wind tore against the brick walls outside as he crept down the stairway, brushing a cobweb from his face. It was such a steep passage most people would have stumbled and fallen in the near total darkness; but not him. He knew each step by heart, which ones creaked, where they creaked, and which steps would remain silent beneath his feet.

No one else knew this stairway existed. It was his secret pleasure in this ancient building with its warren of rooms and hallways. Rooms and hallways people loved for the yesteryear scent of wood and age as much, or nearly as much as he, and this pleased him. Some people still cared about the past, still held vestiges of days gone by, and this is what gave him hope. This allowed him to smile. This was his sanctuary, this storehouse of memories.

Nearing the bottom of the stairs, he ducked to avoid banging his head on a low ceiling. Once, after solidly knocking his head, his moan of pain had nearly given him away. Fortunately, it had been so long ago that most people had forgotten the tales regarding the “ghost of Gideon’s attic.”

He stepped off the last stair and followed the path, keeping close to the outside wall. He squeezed through the place where the passageway narrowed to barely wider than his body and stepped over the familiar hump in the floor. Now, he could hear voices. Voices? Down here, in the attic?

The passage took a sharp turn to the right and he could see light ahead. He held back in the shadows and listened.

“I’m sorry, Professor, it’s just not working out. That little bugger has been wandering around in there for three days and still hasn’t found the cheese. Your theory doesn’t hold water. I’m going to have to transfer the funding to Herpetology. And this little chap’s going to be python food.”

Gideon emerged into the light, wide-eyed, and stared up at the huge, orb-like faces peering down at him. “Did somebody mention cheese?” he said.

Opening: Lori Lapekes.....Continuation: Anonymous


Kanani said...

Hey, you've almost nailed it. You have a nice sense of movement in your writing. This stuff goes forward. Kudos to you for not starting this with: It was a dark and stormy night.

Watch out for those little words or phrases for details that we can safely assume and fill in ourselves, and others that might spoil the flow. It looks like you're at the exacto-knife stage, where you want EE's third eye to get rid of these things.

A more muscular sentence would be: "Gusts of wind tore against the brick walls, as he crept down the stairs, brushing cobwebs from his face. Most people would have stumbled in the darkness of this steep passage. But not him. He knew each step, which would creak and those that would remain silent."

Anonymous said...

LOL on the 'down here in the attic.'

Lori, I think paragraph #2 is a little overkill. It pleased him, made him smile, gave him hope, was his sacntuary and his secret pleasure and he loved it. We got it.

Dave said...

Unfortunately, this doesn't work for me as an opening. It's too descriptive and lacks action.
But then, that's a personal opinion and not a comment on the writing.

AmyB said...

I liked this overall. Wasn't keen on the phrase "wet, moody gusts of wind" but that's a nitpick. This flowed nicely, was easy to understand and made me curious to read on.

McKoala said...

Mixed feelings on the opening. The writing was fine, but I just didn't feel much. Not sure why. Perhaps a bit too much in the second para.

That was a nice, different kind of continuation!

Anonymous said...

I liked 'wet, moody gusts of wind'. Moody is new to me, and I could picture it.

Just not from inside the stairwell.

Wonderwood said...

I thought the opening conveyed strong images, but I was also a bit confused by the weather and the staircase, as I pictured an inside staircase which contradicted the image of the wind blowing. If he's inside, no need to tell us what's going on outside, and if he's outside on the staircase, maybe say it clearly because - and maybe it's just me - I'm not sure if he's inside or out. I agree with Kanani. It's well written, trim some unnecessary description and you're there. Here's one I thought could be whittled down:

"Rooms and hallways people loved for the yesteryear scent of wood and age as much, or nearly as much as he, and this pleased him."

How about just: "Rooms and hallways people loved for the yesteryear scent of wood and age nearly as much as he, and this pleased him."

I don't think you need to correct yourself regarding the degrees of "as much as". Minor trimming, easy fix type stuff. Good job!

Loved the continuation!

takoda said...

Hi, I agree with many of the comments here, in particular, wonderwoods' comments. If the character is inside, keep us inside. You did a good job describing the surroundings using senses other than sight (since it was dark). Kudos for that!

And I hate to tell you how to write YOUR story, but I wanted a bit more suspense. I wanted the character to be 'unfamiliar' with the steps, so we could feel each creak and hold our breath for the uncertainty to follow. Then, we would be more in the moment. A scene like this needs the reader to be in the moment, not passively watching.

I couldn't have written this though. Good job.


BuffySquirrel said...

My eyes glazed over reading this. Too much backstory.

Bernita said...

"wet, moody gusts of wind" is a very nice line.
Don't think it belongs here though. Inside/outside - keep it relevant to location.
Same "huh?" with "Gideon's Attic."
We're going down and you direct us up.
And as nice as his observation are, you set up another contradiction" people who love the ancient warren - yet don't know about the stairway.
Prune or re-locate.

Dave said...

On a less serious note. The first time I saw this on the opening spage, I wrote a satire of it just because, well, it was late at night and it helped me break a logjam in my writing.

It was a bit long for EE's taste. I only post it now for fun.

Hot, moody eruptions of gas blew against the tattered rear of his pants as he tip-toed down the hallway, brushing his teeth as he went, he entered a steep passage, stumbling in the stark whiteness of the way too many white lights. He knew this staircase as well as he knew his own hand. The Bird staircase had creaks like nightingales, each step twittering a more complicated, bright, wildly avian tone.

Five or six hundred of his friends shared this secret. It was his motets, secret pleasure steps, existing only for his pleasure. A secret pleasure in this modern anachronism to rooms and hallways. Rooms and hallways beloved by strangers who visited yester-year's miraculous scenes, carved in wood and artificially aged as much, or nearly as much as our hero. He burped, feeling full, hale and hearty. Some people still cared about curing the cheese, opeing them to the air, to the vestiges of human life, letting the malachitean mold spread its far-reaching arms. This crop stank like last week's feet and gave him hope. He smiled in his asylum, this stockroom of memoirs.

Approaching the foot of the steps, he bowed in obsequious homage' to the less-than-high ceiling. Once again, banging his bald noggin. Birdies tweeted and stars formed a new constellation of pain, causing moans, whines and whimpers. Fortunately, no one heard and no one cared, anymore. Quoth the blackbird, anymore. This renovation would spell an end to “specter of Godiva's upper floor.”

Anonymous said...

Damn, Dave, I think that's the best piece of work you've posted here. Nice job.

Robin S. said...

Hi Dave,

Love it.