Friday, February 06, 2015

New Beginning 1040

The car was red and shiny-bright against the dusty road. The desert stretched away on every side; pale beige dust and darker dirt, little scrubby washed-out green stumps of plants, and occasionally a saguaro cactus, tall and faded, stretching its spiked arms up towards the bright blue sky.

The car, a Mustang convertible of indeterminable age and heritage, sped northwards, billowing white dust, a shining red dragon speeding onwards through its own smoke. The driver was a slim man, tall when standing, with a young, pleasant, handsome face. His hair was dark, ruffling in the wind, and his hands were long and elegant, pianist’s fingers that gripped the steering wheel. His eyes were dark, dark, dark blue; almost black in some lights, almost turquoise in others. He gazed steadily at the empty road ahead, occasionally glancing at the girl in the passenger seat next to him.

The girl was younger than him by perhaps ten years; also slim, also tall, with the same dark, dark, dark eyes. She sat very low in the seat in a position that should have looked ungainly, but which she somehow managed to imbue with a kind of languid grace that Cleopatra would have envied. Her hair was long and straight and dark, and the wind lifted it and played with it caressingly.

‘India,’ said the driver, her uncle Matthew.

She looked across at him.

He smiled. ‘Do you want the roof down?’

She shook her head. ‘No. Just keep driving.’

‘As you wish,’ he said.

India tried to concentrate on what lay ahead. Before too long, they would leave the freeway in her mother's red Ford Mustang convertible GT/CS with dark dark leather bucket seats, passing through little dusty towns until they reached the dark dusty place where her grandfather had died in a fiery crash all those years ago. She and Matthew, the last of his descendants, would perform the ritual and honor the memory of one who died so far from home.

"Here we are," said Uncle Matthew.

So soon? Sighing, India looked up at the sign.


Opening:.Alice Smales....Continuation: Khazarkhum


Anonymous said...

I don't know why, but as I was reading the first part, I was also thinking of Roswell... weird.

Dave Fragments said...

It is a little too slow to keep the reader. It is good but too long.
I also don't see any revelation about the struggle in the rest of the story. That might be a reason to continue reading for some reader. It needs a hook.

InkAndPixelClub said...

Dark. Dark. Dark. Dark. Dark. Dark. Dark. Dark. Dark.

Ever notice how when you read or say a word over and over again, it starts to become detatched from it's meaning? That's what's happening for me here. Repeating "dark" three times as an adjetcive doesn't give me a good idea of the color of the characters eyes. "Dark blue, nearly black" would suffice. If you need something more specific, you can throw in a metaphor. But "Dark, no, darker than that, no, even darker than that" is rather subjective.

Stick to describing what's actually visible in the scene. If Uncle Matthew is tall when standing, then mention that when he stands up, since I assume he's not standing while driving. If we really need to know that he's tall right now, you can describe how his head nearly touches the ceiling of the car or how his long legs are crammed into the inadquate space in front of a seat adjusted all the way back. Likewise, save his occasionally turquoise eyes for when the light actually shifts to show them as such.

Is the car really important to this story? If not, you may be better off starting with the characters instead of it.

"Indeterminate age" would probably be better unless it's completely impossible for anyone to tell how old it is. I'm not sure what a car's heritage is. Does it come from a long line of very dusty cars?

Limit the adjectives per sentence. "A young, pleasant, handsome face" is too much at once and the sentence already has a ton of description aside from that. Specific details are better. What features make him look pleasant or handsome?

Are Uncle Matthew's hands fingers? Since I'm assuming not, this should be two sentences or you should add "with" before "pianist's fingers." If Uncle Matthew is not a pianist, I'd go for a more straightforward description of his fingers or change it to "fingers like a concert pianist's". You don't want to add potentially confusing details about characters we've just met.

I'd rather you describe the position India is sitting in than drag in Cleopatra, who is presumably not a character in this story.

"Caressingly" doesn't add anything and I'm not certain it's a word.

Like Dave Fragments pointed out, the pace feels too slow. There's a ton of description but very little happening. Try to weave the description into the action so the story doesn't come to a screeching halt while you tell us what everything looks like.

khazarkhum said...

Anon, there were only three options I could see. Aliens, Lycanthropes, or Vampires. I ruled out Vampires because of the desert. Lyacanthropes are a maybe, if they're were-coyotes. But they're driving across the desert to somewhere, though, and I'd expect most desert lycanthropes to live nearby. So that leaves Aliens.

Now, where could they be going? Not Los Angeles, because then they'd have know all about the car if they hoped to survive driving in LA. That they didn't was a giveaway--most Mustang people revere their cars and can recite its virtues. (That part also pegged them as aliens.) Las Vegas? Maybe, but they don't seem to be anxious about it, unlike most visitors to Vegas. No tension=no Vegas.

So where would aliens in an unfamiliar car be going in the desert? Area 51 or Roswell. But since Aliens are *from* Area 51, they won't be *going* there. So the only possible answer is: Roswell.

And that's why you and I picked it.