Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Beginning 365

He approached the menacing stone gates flanked by lava falls. With his weapons loaded and his health at maximum, he was poised to face whatever unearthly menace lurked on the other side.

Then the door bell rang.

"Shazbat!"

Quentin glanced at the clock on his dresser. 5:18. Mom must have lost her keys in her purse again. He threw the controller on the floor in front of his TV in disgust. This was only the third time he’d gotten to the Fire Level, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to regain his momentum.

He stomped down the stairs and sullenly unlocked the front door.

“Mom, you’ve got to keep—”

It wasn’t Mom. It was a man in brown. Holding a brown package.

“Can you please sign for this?”

“Uh.” Quentin pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “I’m not supposed to. My mom should be home any minute.”

“Kid, could you just sign? I’m in a hurry.”

Mom came bounding up the front steps, out of breath. She glared at Quentin as she scribbled on the brown guy’s clipboard. Man, was she pissed.

Mom watched the UPS guy walk back to his van, then turned to Quentin, almost quivering with rage.

"Damn it, lad, look at you! You been playing those video games all day again, haven't you? I despair, I really do! Now, get yourself upstairs, get some clothes on, wipe that pizza sauce off your chops, and for pity's sake take a shave! Sweet Jesus, it's little wonder Marion divorced you!"

Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: ril

9 comments:

AmyB said...

I was amused by the first line, because I imagined a guy with lava flows walking on either side of him. But those are probably meant to flank the gate.

I like the writing, and the video game stuff is cute and believable (though it does not make the protagonist particularly sympathetic!). I wasn't very hooked, though, because so far nothing extraordinary has happened. The brown package might be something interesting, but nothing has suggested that it is. And his mom being pissed at him, even though I don't know the reason for it, doesn't draw me in either.

Nice voice, though. And I like the bit where he pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose--it's a nice way of subtly working in a touch of character description. I'd probably read on just because I like the writing.

Dave said...

I hope the package contains aliens that try to take over the world and that Quentin defeats them wth laser bolts from his eyes. That would be fun. I ought to write that story.

paula said...

Regarding the first paragraph, I know it's a kid, but maybe you should try to find a synonym for either "menacing" or "menace".

Ali said...

I liked the contrast between Quentin's menacing video game world and his real world where he's not even allowed to open the door if his mom's not home. I like the voice, too. My only quibble is, I'd take "sullenly" out, because adverbs are evil and you don't need it after the throwing of the video game controls and the stomping down the stairs. Interrupted in the middle of Fire Level? Sullen would be an understatement, I think!

Ello said...

THis was a very interesting opening. I liked the tone and the setting. And I want to know why Mom is so mad and what is in the box. I also agree that I loved the juxtaposition of having power in one world and none in the other. Very appealing to a kid! But my only quibble would be that I hope something exciting happens really soon, which is why I would want to keep reading because as it stands now, it is set up that way.

BuffySquirrel said...

Adverbs are not evil. Note that I couldn't make that statement without one. Or that statement, either.

Robin S. said...

I like this - like the voice- like the difference- as has been said- between Quentin's game world and his real world.

I skimmed this the first time and didn't read through- 'cause when I saw:

"Shazbat!" I was pretty sure it wasn't for me. But when I took the time to look, I liked it.

And the use of adverbs quite often 'work for me'- but maybe not 'sullenly' - that may be overkill. I'd probably also lose the "menacing" of the stone gates, as the word "menace" is used so shortly afterward in the same paragraph.

ril, your continuation was so good!

Bernita said...

I would like to see the video game paragraph expanded a little, so the contrast between it and the mundane word is more acute.
Call the gates "sinister" to avoid repetition.
You don't need "Then the doorbell... Just "The doorbell rang" provides your split.

Dave said...

"Shazbat" spoiled this for me, too. I was never a Mork and Mindy fan. Shazbat was Mork's word.