Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Beginning 892

I was seventeen when death crossed my path. Before that, I’d only dreamt of twisted limbs and blood as bright as poppies. But late one night, death offered me an opportunity. She whispered dirty secrets in my ear and pulled back my eyelids with curling hands.

“There,” she said, and pointed.

I did not recognize her voice then. I did not know who was leading me in the darkness.

I followed.

Across the street, I watched the girl climb into the car of a stranger. Before I knew what I was doing, my wings had opened and I was chasing them. Down the lighted streets. Down the highway into forever. When the buck stepped out into a pool of yellow light, it did not strike me as a danger.

Then death whispered, “Now,” and I understood.

After the accident, I approached the vehicle with caution. A crack in the windshield spiraled out like a web. The girl’s skull had broken it on impact. Now she lay slumped against the door, eyes staring out.

Dead.

Not so for the man in the driver’s seat.

I leapt, gossamer wings fanning the air, and landed lightly on the steering wheel.

His lip was cut and bruised and a tooth lay in the bloody mess. He gazed at me with glassy eyes.
I reached out and plucked the tooth from its gory resting place.

"Here." I handed him a silver dollar. "You're lucky it's not broken. I wouldn't give you a plugged nickel if it were."

I tucked the prize into my satchel with the eleven others collected this evening, then launched into the air again, my work finished.


Opening: Chelsea P.....Continuation: PLaF

15 comments:

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:


I leant in and glared at him. "That'll teach you. She wasn't a girl, she was a WOMAN."

--BuffySquirrel


"And now?"

"Now, you give him this. Quick, before anyone arrives..."

I stared at the object that death put in my hands and a sudden realization swept through me. "Oh... Oh, I, uh..." My face flushed hot as I stammered through my embarrassment. "I'm so sorry. Your name's Des!"

The card shook in my hands.


Des Clintock
Personal Injury Attorney
No Win -- No Fee.
For the biggest payouts, call Des at 555-106-3298

--anon.

Evil Editor said...

This is a rewrite of the opening in New Beginning 878 (http://evileditor.blogspot.com/2011/08/new-beginning-878.html). I like it better.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Yeah, I like it better too. It focuses on the (I assume) protag instead of the cracked glass and skull and so on.

It's still not something I'd read. But at least it gives fair warning.

it did not strike me as a danger

The word "strike" threw me, because you've been preparing us for violence, so I'm all "deer don't generally go around striking people". Easy to fix that.

I generally think similes in an opening graf are a mistake, but this one is brief enough not to distract.

Works okay. Good luck with it.

Laurel said...

Count me in for liking this version much better.It doesn't sound like my normal cup of tea, but I am intrigued. I would read on, but I'd need to know who the protag is pretty soon after this opening.

BuffySquirrel said...

Yes, this is much much better. Intriguing and draws you in.

Dave Fragments said...

I think it could be a little tighter in the opening paragraph:

I was seventeen when death crossed my path. Before that, I’d only dreamt of twisted limbs and poppy-red blood. But that night, death whispered dirty secrets in my ear and pulled back my eyelids with curling hands. I didn't recognize her voice. I didn't know led me.
“There.” she pointed. I followed.
Across the street, a girl climbed into a stranger's car. Before I knew what I was doing, my wings had opened. I chased them down lighted streets and highways until a buck stepped out into a pool of yellow light.
Death whispered, “Now.” Car and deer met and I understood.
After the accident, I approached the vehicle with caution. A crack in the windshield spiraled out like a web. The girl’s skull had broken it on impact. Now she lay slumped against the door, eyes staring out.
Dead.
Not so for the man in the driver’s seat.

Phoenix Sullivan said...

By the 3rd paragraph I knew this was Chelsea's simply by the writing style.

And that's where we have to be careful when we edit others' works. While Dave's version is literal and concise and gets you from point A to B with little fuss, Chelsea's version has a ring of poetry to it.

"poppy-red blood" for instance, might be fewer words but it lacks the rhythm of "blood as red as poppies" in context. One is lyrical, the other isn't. One is Chelsea style through and through, while the other isn't.

That said, I do think the "after the accident" paragraph breaks voice a bit. I would expect something more along: "The crack in the windshield spiraling out like a web matched the gash in the girl's forehead. She slumped against the door, eyes staring out." The narrator seems to want the reader to infer things rather than coming right out and telling the reader what happened.

I agree that "strike" should probably be changed. And I'm not certain why she's approaching the car with "caution." "Trepidation" perhaps?

BuffySquirrel said...

Dave wants everything to be haiku. Bad haiku.

Chelsea P. said...

Oh, oh, it's mine! I'm so glad the rewrite is being well-received. I like it much better, and I have you minions to thank. Those "absence of narrator" comments really got me on the right track.

Dave, your rewrite is deliciously fast paced, and I will definitely consider your suggestions.

EE, Laurel, Buffy and Alaska, thank you for the votes of confidence. Alaska, your "Deer don't generally go around striking people" comment made me laugh. So true, and such a good point. I will search for a better word.

And Phoenix, as usual, you just get me. I don't necessarily set out to be poetic, but I am obsessive about the rhythm in my sentences, paragraphs, everything. Obsessive about the sound of things, which is why I like the poppy line. The "after the accident" part is really where I'm getting hung up. It sounds like I need to say a little more, rather than being so irritatingly vague. I can do that.

Many thanks!

Chelsea P. said...

Oh, and the continuation was brilliant. BRILLIANT.

Dave Fragments said...

Chelsea,
One of the things we can't see in these openings is the rest of the chapter or the story. I realized that my revision was really fast paced and sparse but I sent it anyway. I have found that seeing the opposite of what I think is the tone and pacing helps me get to the final product. It's all up to you.

John said...

A girl climbs into a car with a strange man in the dark of night, he carries her off to parts unknown, and she's later found dead at the hands of...a deer? That threw me a little. Sort of like someone choking to death on a burrito just as the vampire was about to sink his fangs in. Still, I liked this one and would read on.

Xiexie said...

It's definitely my cup of tea (which would usually have a shot or two of rum in it...anywho). I do like this one better. I'm pulled in.

Good job.

Oh and Alaska, that antelope crashed into that kids, so deer do strike every now and then. :-p

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

"generally" = "usually"

Chelsea P. said...

More good thoughts! Thank you :)