Tuesday, February 04, 2014

New Beginning 1022


December 31st.

Lilia Loverly and Cassie Chalaine laughed as they headed through the service pantry toward the kitchen of the Maple Hill Inn, until they ran across Baby New Year holding a bloodied knife over the body of Father Time.

Cassie’s spine-chilling scream punctuated the tray of champagne glasses as it slipped from Lilia’s hands and crashed to the floor. Jay Roddey looked up at the two women. His wide saucer-like eyes glazed with fear, his chest heaved with ragged breaths, and his hand trembled as he held the knife.

“S-somebody killed him!” Jay’s suddenly high-pitched voice cracked.

Cassie screamed again. Lilia tried to stay calm—somebody had to. “Jay, what have you done?” Lilia demanded.

“I didn’t do it. I, I…” He swallowed hard and tried to contain his emotions, as tears cut a path down his blood-spattered face.

“Jay, if you didn’t do this, then who did?” asked Lilia.

“I don’t know. I came out of the kitchen with another cheese and cracker platter and tripped right over him.”

Lilia took in the broken crackers, chunks of cheese, and crystal shards scattered everywhere as a pool of blood slid slowly across the polished hardwood floor.

Lilia grasped Cassie about the midsection and bade her keep still.

"Now dearie, run off and grab Mother Nature for us. She'll get this cleaned up in a jif. There's a good girl."

Once the quivering Cassie had departed, Lilia fixed Jay with a gimlet gaze. Then she removed the leather strap she kept tucked into her apron for times such as these. "Clumsy sod, however will Miss Marple solve this crime with tea biscuits and cheese ground into the evidence?"

Jay knelt, then, and turned his watery eyes to the wall. "Please forgive me, Mistress Lilia."

Oh I will, Lilia thought, just as soon as I warm that juicy bum



Opening: Sherry Clitheroe.....Continuation: Veronica Rundell

6 comments:

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:


"Jay, give me the knife."

Jay stood and handed Lilia the blood-soaked weapon, his arm shaking. Lilia spoke in a reassuring tone.

"I believe you didn't kill Adam Adamsby, but we need to figure out who did. I'm going to call the police. Cassie, you stay here with Jay. Try not to let any of the guests see the body."

Cassie nodded obediently and watched Lilia hurry away. She hugged Jay's arm, as much for her own comfort as for his.

"It's such a relief to have a level-headed friend like Lilia in times like these," she sighed.

"Yeah." Jay looked down at the late Adam Adamsby, thinking. "Although...don't you think her reaction was a bit weird?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, when she saw me with the knife and Mr. Adamsby bleeding out on the floor, the first thing she said was, 'What did you do?!' She didn't check if Mr. Adamsby was still alive, she didn't say we should call an ambulance....It's like she already knew he was dead."

Cassie stared at Jay. His words sank in slowly.

"No! You don't think..."

But Cassie never learned what Jay thought, because she and her ill-fated coworker soon joined Adam Adamsby on the hardwood. The pool of blood spread wider.

--T.K. Marnell


How could she not. A method actor dressed as the vacume cleaner from "The Beauty and the Beast" clean-up was her forte. She turned to Cassie "The Torch" Chalaine, and said, "I'll let you clean up these two. Nothing's going to ruin my coming out party as a major appliance."

--Kregger


The shape the pool of blood made as it slid across the floor reminded the girls of something they shouldn't be thinking about.

Jay laughed and said, "do you see what I see?"

The pool of blood rose and morphed into a big naughty shape. It stomped out of the room to scare the little old ladies drinking spiked lemonade on the porch.

--CavalierdeNuit

Evil Editor said...

I'm confused. It starts off sounding like a fantastical story, what with Baby New Year and Father Time being characters. Then Baby New Year and Father Time are never mentioned again, except that BNY becomes Jay.

Apparently there's a New Year's Eve party at this inn and all of these characters are employees of the inn, which explains why they're all in the service pantry; and Jay is dressed as BNY. For some reason the person dressed as Father Time is never named, even though he's been murdered. I assume they know his name.

When you see Jay holding a bloody knife over Harold, you're not gonna refer to them as BNY and FT unless you don't recognize them.

"Punctuate" is not a good verb for what a scream does to a tray.


If Jay says, “I didn’t do it. I, I… came out of the kitchen with a cheese and cracker platter and tripped over him.” then we get rid of the silly "Jay, if you didn't do this, then who did?" as well as the blood-spattered face, which seems unlikely if he didn't do it.

Haven't there been enough TV shows and movies where people get accused of murders because they're found holding the weapon over the dead body, so that even the stupidest of innocent people know enough not to pick up the weapon because the second they do someone's gonna walk in and jump to conclusions?

Veronica Rundell said...

Hi there!
I was struck by the campy scene and verbose language--which I tried to capture in the continuation. Hope you don't mind me taking liberties with the house staff...

For a book/story opening I think this is likely too far forward. We have no idea who any of these four characters are, but one of them is dead, and the reader has no context, or empathy for any of them. Not sure if I'd read on, because Jay seems a fair imbecile, grabbing the murder weapon and all. Also, makes me wonder if I'm being set up from the first paragraph--that maybe Jay is the killer and playing coy. Cue the Matlock opening credits....because it reads more like a TV screenplay than a novel. My impression, from this tidbit.

The names, well, camp-tastic. Only Eliza Dolittle would have been more hysterical, to me...not sure if his was your intention. I will admit to a bizarre sense of humor.

Mister Furkles said...

The two biggest problems I have reading this are: (1) it lacks sufficient context, and (2) it is insufficiently visual. Veronica noted these problems. I’d recommend starting with something like the following:

It was to be the best New Year’s masquerade in memory. Everybody who mattered would be at the Maple Hill Inn for the festivities.

Lilia and Cassie were thrilled when asked to be servers; they were further excited while dressing in their salacious costumes. As they headed from the butler’s pantry into the kitchen, they laughed about the leers they were collecting. Then they stumbled into the maitre d’—Jake Wilson dressed as Father Time—lying on the floor in a spreading pool of crimson. And behind him stood Chef Randy Roddey--Baby New Year--holding a French knife dripping with blood.


Of course, this isn’t your story and it would need polishing if it were. But it provides just enough context for the event and just enough about the girls that a reader can visualize the scene. Try again. Let us ‘see’ this as if it were a stage play.

Dave Fragments said...

I saw this early today and then got called out of the house on an emergency. Did I ever tell you how much I hate emergencies. Well, trust me, I do.

Be that as it may,
There is a contest in any story between introducing the characters, setting the situation, and attracting the readers to read on.

I don't care much for the last names but you don't need them in the first 200 words. Save the names for later. I think this is the better opening sentence. The current opening sentence doesn't thrill me.

Lilia took in the broken crackers, chunks of cheese, and crystal shards scattered everywhere as a pool of blood slid slowly across the polished hardwood floor.

Think of that as the first sentence. The "crystal shards" can be "Broken New Year's Champagne Flutes" . . . Then Lilia can still grasp Cassie but rather than "bade" anything, she can say "Jay, what have you done?"

And then Jay protests in spite of his bloodstained hands holding the knife, a white diaper and blood-smeared sash.

And that is where I would take this opening. I am guessing that this is going to be a murder mystery and Jay is being framed of left to take the rap. You even have a chance to add the backstory of the Maple Hill Inn as always having grand and elegant (or happy, raucous and fun) New Year's Party but this year they outdid themselves (or ruined the night). They offered a real murder to solve with the dinner and champagne.

It doesn't make sense that Jay dressed as he is would commit murder. Also, you haven't yet introduced the body with its background and hints at the reason he was murdered. (foreshadow).

Jay could be the son-in-law trying to take over the restaurant from his cheap-ass father-in-law. Hence Father TIme and Baby NEw Year. See the tiny hint.

Father Time could be the older man in a love triangle with Jay.

And now I have to get ready for bed. It's been a tough day and this was relaxing. I hope it helps.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

WAY too much detail here. Less is more.

Cassie’s spine-chilling scream punctuated the tray of champagne glasses as it slipped from Lilia’s hands and crashed to the floor. Jay Roddey looked up at the two women. His wide saucer-like eyes glazed with fear, his chest heaved with ragged breaths, and his hand trembled as he held the knife.

May I?


Cassie's scream mingled with the crash as the tray of champagne glasses hit the floor. Jay Roddey stood there, his eyes wide with fear. A bloody knife trembled in his hand.

Or even

Cassie screamed and dropped the tray. Jay Roddey stood before her, his eyes wide with fear. A bloody knife trembled in his hand.

Basically, when you're looking at a bloody knife etc., saucer-like eyes just aren't what you're going to be thinking about.