Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Beginning 1008


The rain must have heard her swearing, as it obligingly pounded even more heavily on the windscreen. Saucer-sized drops blattered onto the glass. Molly flicked the hi-beam on, leaned forward in her seat, and squinted through the clear trail briefly left in the wiper’s wake. Which gave her a great view of, oh, at least five metres ahead. Piece of cake driving this way. Her knuckles turned white on the steering wheel.

The turn-off should be coming up. Unless she had already missed it. It was a private driveway on a narrow country road; something easy enough to slip past even on a clear day.

There would be a glass of red waiting for her, logs smouldering in the fireplace and easy banter with her two oldest friends. Bliss.

“Bit of help please Darcy.”

The figure in the seat beside her pulled his face out of the coat he was probably surgically attached to, and turned slowly. He even pulled out those earbuds – she should feel honoured. She glanced at him and even now her heart fell at the sight of the acne coating his cheeks and forehead.

“Rain looks heavy,” he mumbled. Probably the longest sentence he had uttered for six months.

“Exactly. Look out for the turnoff. It’s on your side”

“What ‘bout the GPS?”

“Now why didn’t I think of that? Gosh, I wonder if it’s because private roads aren’t usually–”

An ear-bashing bang jolted through the cabin and a mountain of white suddenly appeared in front of her as the airbags activated.


"It's raining cats and dogs and you're lost. Your kid is sitting next to you, texting and listening to Good Charlotte. You've never driven this road before. So you don't know about the giant bullfrogs that only come out in the rain.

"It's times like this when you're thankful you're in the good hands of Allstate."



Opening: Corinne A......Continuation: Khazar-khum

12 comments:

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:



Wind howled through the cracked windscreen, icing my breaths as I struggled to draw air.

Darcy, always the helpful one, muttered, "Loverly. Thanks again for dragging me on your holiday, sis."

At that moment I reached the brim. "Listen here, you sorrowful sack of shit, I didn't want you here anymore than you did, but mum begged me. You really mucked up her last get-together."

Even in the dimness his eyes shone. "Yeah well, I hardly think you'd bat an eye seeing how your as big a slag as she is, but somehow I figured a son aught to defend his mum from a couple blokes double-teaming her on Christmas Eve. I eat at that kitchen table for fuck's sake!"

His breaths came hard and fast and I wanted to calm him, really, but now was not the time. Instead, I shook my head, staring into the swirling blizzard, cursing my cell's decision to lose service the second we hit the nastiest of the weather. "Darcy, just stow it. We're close enough to walk. Help me with the baggage."

"No way in hell I can carry all your baggage," he murmured, slamming his door and walking toward the boot, and this time I let it go.

Figures. Barely spoken in months and when he does speak it's to paint me a whore. This was shaping up to be a truly bang-up holiday. Cheers.

--Veronica Rundell


"Bit of help, please, Darcy..." she mumbled, before collapsing into the blooming onion that was the airbag. A glass-ful of red gushed over the white.

Luckily Darcy was, literally, surgically attached to his coat. He unraveled a long thread of 4-oh vicryl from his chest and improvised a needle using wire from the shattered steering wheel column. The wail of sirens sounded in the distance as he stitched the ragged tear in Molly's carotid. Then, simply to show of for the EMTs, he performed a tracheotomy with a ball-point pen and a straw from Taco Bell.

Screw Doogie Howser, he thought. If only his acne would clear up.

--IMHO


"See?" shouted Brad when he reached the devastated mailbox.

"See what?" Molly yelled over the driving rain.

"How many times have I told you? Women can't drive!"

--Khazar-khum

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

In a driving rain, it's easier to see without your brights on.

(I'm guessing at "brights" for "hi-beam" [singular]. Both that and "cabin" had me picturing some unfamiliar sort of vehicle.)

Evil Editor said...

P1: I'd get rid of Piece of cake driving this way. You can probably do without Saucer-sized drops blattered onto the glass as well, unless you come up with a more reasonable exaggeration.

P2: Get rid of "something."

P5: Change "probably" to "seemingly." I don't buy that a driver who can see 5 metres and is looking for a hard-to-see turnoff is going to take her eyes off the road and notice her fellow rider's acne to the extent that her heart falls.

The last paragraph doesn't need "suddenly."

I could argue that if it's worth noting that "Rain looks heavy," is the longest sentence Darcy has uttered in 6 months, it's certainly worth noting that his next sentence tops it, but I won't.

Usually you wouldn't turn off the GPS just because you've pulled onto a narrow country road, so her response would be more like "It doesn't seem to know where we are," rather than "Why didn't I think of that?"

Evil Editor said...

"Cabin" is British for "inside of the car." Like windscreen for windshield, boot for trunk, metres for yards.

Actually, while the metric system is taught in British schools, I'm told many a driver would still say five yards ahead rather than metres. Molly apparently isn't one of them.

Tk said...

I liked this because both Molly and Darcy show personality, and you wonder what their connection is.

High beams sound right to this Canadian; I never knew there was another word! I’d measure in metres too but cabin is not something I’ve heard anyone say.

Would delete “piece of cake too,” at first I thought it meant she was enjoying this, so it doesn’t work with the white knuckles.

Airbag sentence is too long, rhythmically, for what just happened.

/nitpicks. I do like this.

Don’t understand why she is sarcastic with Darcy when he’s tugging her heartstrings?

Very funny continuations, especially Darcy Doogie.

AA said...

Quick edit:

The rain must have heard her swearing, as it obligingly pounded even more heavily on the windscreen. Molly flicked the hi-beam on, leaned forward in her seat, and squinted through the clear trail briefly left in the wiper’s wake. Which gave her a great view of, oh, at least five metres ahead. Her knuckles turned white on the steering wheel.

The turn-off should be coming up. Unless she had already missed it.
There would be a glass of red waiting for her, logs smouldering in the fireplace and easy banter with her two oldest friends. Bliss.

“Bit of help please Darcy.”

The figure in the seat beside her pulled his face out of the coat he was probably surgically attached to, and turned. He even pulled out those earbuds – she should feel honoured. She glanced at him and even now her heart fell at the sight of the acne coating his cheeks and forehead.

“Rain looks heavy,” he mumbled. The longest sentence he had uttered for six months.

“Exactly. Look out for the turnoff. It’s on your side”

“What ‘bout the GPS?”

“Private drives aren’t usually–”

An ear-bashing bang jolted through the cabin and a mountain of white suddenly appeared in front of her as the airbags activated.

BuffySquirrel said...

I've never heard anyone British use 'cabin' for the inside of a car. Or 'hi-beam'. Then again, I don't go out much.

Dave Fragments said...

I think you got too many words before the interesting crash. How about considering a rewrite that starts with your last sentence of only this:

"An ear-bashing bang jolted THE CAR AS a mountain of white appeared."

Then I would reconstruct the accident as she copes with the crash (and yes, I've seen the mountain of white thanks to a tree laying around a blind curve.) I hear this story about deer wandering the roads and sometimes moose doing whatever a moose desires.

The rest of this you can ignore because it's all personal preference.

I also don't like that you throw a clue-like question into a sentence about the character and then answer the clue in the second clause. Take the first paragraph that opens with the rain personified and then we find out who swore at the rain personified (Molly). Why not start with the rain hearing Molly ?

Same thing in the fifth paragraph -- we know the passenger is named Darcy. Aside from Mister Darcy, the only other Darcy I knew was a female. But that's only me. You throw a clue about "Darcy" as "the figure" Then you reveal it's a he and hint again at his age with (permanently attached ear buds that are only removed for royal occasions) and then his appearance of too much acne which hurts Molly so bad that her heart sinks as a tree or a cow is crawling out onto the road just waiting for a car. I say that because you haven't yet established that the figure is her son and she is the parent he doesn't communicate with. How do I know Molly is not his girlfriend? Because a girlfriend wouldn't think those thoughts and would be just as silent and uncommunicative... And then Molly gets sarcastic about the GPS which distracts her from the road and the naughty tree, errant cow or wandering deer. That is Molly's sin - distracted by her son's acne and her malfunctioning GPS. Sin must be punished.

Now unless the tree in the road is malevolently possessed by some demon, who cares. Unless his acne figures into the virus that causes the next zombie apocalypse, who cares. Likewise the cow and moose. Yeti, Yaks, Dodos and Hippopotamuses would rate a mention.

You do the same hint thing in the second paragraph. The "Turn-off" is close or it's behind her. It's Schrödinger's Cat both alive and dead. My mind jumps to eschatology. Then it becomes a narrow country road. Later on, it becomes a Private Road. My mind is caught in a loop, a turn-off is a curved road the exits a highway. A narrow country road is what I live on and have driven for 30 years. It's ain't that exciting. A private road is my neighbor's 1200 foot driveway. That's three football fields of driveway capable of ripping the suspension on my car. Serious thought required to drive that sucker.

But all those things are just personal opinion. What I would like you to do for real is start with the car crash and then fill in the aftermath.

IMHO said...

Overall I like this. I respectfully disagree about starting with the car crash, as I don't really care about the car, I only care if I know about the people in the car.

Second sentence is a bit long for my taste -- three actions (flicked, leaned, squinted). Perhaps cut down to two to get us to the crash faster?

I don't mind the "turn-off should be coming up. Unless she'd missed it." Gives me a sense of her state of mind and her goal.

I do suggest a ruthless edit to make sure every word is exactly right -- for example, she swears at the rain and it "obligingly" pounds harder. To me, "obligingly" implys the rain is being helpful -- perhaps it "retaliated by" pounding harder? "perversely" pounded harder? And "smouldering" (again, to me) suggests a smoky fire. "Crackling" is cliche . . . not sure. Would be interested in hearing others' opinions!

khazar-khum said...

I had no problem with Darcy as the sullen, uncommunicative teenage son. Every mother wants her kid to be beautiful, wonderful, popular, friendly, not the miserable churl who shows up around 15 or so. That part rang true.

Anonymous said...

Although it was written in third person, i had the sense of the mother's voice as irritated/ sarcastic all the way through, so the rain "obligingly" falling harder seemed consistent.

I could more easily imagine a teen in a hoodie than a coat. Unless it's one of those heavy black thigh length coats and he's in emo/ goth gear.

AA said...

I honestly think some of you are just bored, and therefore nit-picking. With a little editing for pace and flow, there is nothing wrong with this.

I got the sarcasm right away, as I am not from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse.

I assumed the coat was a trenchcoat of the goth/emo type.

The only thing I thought was a problem: The mom probably shouldn't be quite so sarcastic about the gps, since most teens and many adults as well would assume a gps would know ALL the roads. We're used to technology being like magic.

So, we have what is obviously a mom and a teen son going somewhere to meet mom's friends, and she hydroplanes or something, and there's a wreck. It's clear. If the author spends this much time on the rest of the novel, it will be ready for publication in about 400 years.