Friday, June 12, 2009

New Beginning 649

Come, Cynthia. There is not much time. The faster we are, the better it will be.

Cynthia peeked into the entryway before creeping forward. The stained glass windows barely glowed in pre-dawn light. She glanced behind her at the faint sound of servants preparing breakfast. Taking a deep breath, she smoothed the ruffled pinafore she had put on in haste. The pink glass of the door's window cast rosy light onto her as she reached for the handle. Muscles tensed as she prepared to hear her mother’s terse voice when she opened the door, but bird songs were the only sound to greet her. As the door clicked shut, she let out the breath she had been holding.

A cobblestone walkway stretched out from the veranda to the cast iron gates. The dusty road that had brought them from Lyney lay behind it, shadowed by a grassy hill.

Over the hill, Cynthia.

She looked towards the stables. “Shouldn’t I get a horse first?”

There is no time.

The morning chill washed over her as she stepped into the yard. She ran to the gates surprised to find them unlocked. She ignored the house behind her, hoping she would be ignored in turn if spotted.

The hill towered above her and appeared steeper than it had from the veranda.

In the barn. Waiting.

Minutes later, she was lying in the hay, staring at the barn ceiling, listening to his snoring.
The faster we are, the better it will be. Yeah, right. Shoulda gone with the horse.

Opening: Sephina.....Continuation: Anon.


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

Hurry Cynthia, It won’t be long before we reach Fairyland.

She ran up the hill. Her legs burned but she kept moving forward while orchestral music swelled in the background. At last she made it over the hill and saw a wondrous site.

There you are!

It was Taylor, the hunky high-school quarterback. They both put away their cell phones and she hopped on the back of his motorcycle. “Don’t forget that I have to be back at the ranch before my mom gets up.” said Cynthia.

Whatever--I just want to take advantage of Fairyland Theme Park’s early bird discounts.


The hill, Cynthia. You must run up the hill.

Gathering her skirt, she began to run. Unused to the skirt, corset, heels and petticoats, she tripped, tumbling down the grass to land at the cameraman's feet.

"What the hell was that?" The director, an ugly, greasy man, stormed towards her. "You're supposed to go up the hill, not fall down it!"

"Want me to show you how it's done, honey?" Her mother, snuggled beside the director, smiled at her.

"No, it's OK." Cynthia managed to regain her feet, brushing the bits of grass from her pinafore. It was bad enough her mother had called on her old connections to get her into this film, but did she have to be on the set of "Backdoor Brides IV" too?


The faint sounds of people, milling about along the road beyond the hill, reached her ears. She jogged through the brush, casting suspicious glances as she hunched low to avoid notice.

Hurry. They're approaching faster than expected.

"I'm hurrying," she muttered.

Well hurry faster, came the voice of her handler--her mother, as it happened--as she reached her goal.

Cynthia knelt beside the cache, popped open the case and began to assemble the rifle while huddled in the shadow of a copse of oak trees. The hum of voices just beyond the hilltop were louder now, excited.

She slid the bolt home and popped it back, chambered a single round. The metal felt cool even through her gloves.

"Moving into position," she murmured.

Copy, came the reply over the earbud.

Lowcrawling to the crest, she wrapped her left forearm in the sling and used it to snug the rifle against her right shoulder. The cavalcade rolled into sight, Secret Service men jogging alongside the convertible. The sun burnished the windows of the buildings to copper plates-- and backlit the hair of her target, giving him a halo of light.

Fitting, and maybe a foreshadow of things to come. One could hope. Cynthia didn't want to hear her mother's complaints should she fail.

She drew down on the target's sandy head. Her finger squeezed the trigger--

And a shot rang out from the Book Repository across the square!

"Damn it, Mother, I'm perfectly capable of doing this on my own."


Evil Editor said...

One gets the impression Cynthia's never seen the hill before, even though it's right in front of the house and shadows the dusty road they came from Lyney on. Otherwise she'd know how steep it is.

This must mean they arrived the night before, after dark. But if she just got there last night, she wouldn't know whether it's normal for the gate to be unlocked. She might not even recognize the sound of servants making breakfast or know that a horse is available to her.

If she's been there one night it would be pretty bold to just start following instructions from a voice inside her head.

So, when did they arrive from Lyney?

150 said...

As soon as I read the first couple lines, I knew the continuation was going to go there.

writtenwyrdd said...

Me, all I could think of when I read about the hill was "grassy knoll." Which explains my continuation.

This is interesting and I'd have read on, but it's a bit too wordy and vague. I think we need more tension and a word or two to give us an idea what she's up to and why she's avoiding her mother.

Anonymous said...

Way too many adjectives/adverbs. It's slowing down what started out as rather intruiging. I love the first line, but I don't want to read through all of the faint sounds and rosy lights and terse voices and ruffled pinafores and dusty roads to figure out what's going on.

Anonymous said...

By first line, I meant first para.

Anonymous said...

what exactly is a pinafore? some sort of garment from eons past, sure, but what is it doing here on p1?

_*rachel*_ said...

That's why I didn't write a continuation--I couldn't think of a single other thing this could be talking about. I think the problem is the "faster" sentence.

This feels wordy.

I love your continuation, writtenwyrd! It reminds me of that futuristic one buried somewhere in teh archives.

Evil Editor said...

Presumably you're referring to

Steve Wright said...

They arrived from Lyney over six weeks ago. However, until now, Cynthia has been wearing an extremely heavy hat with a very wide brim, which has prevented her from seeing any of the local scenery.

... well, I bet the author can't come up with anything better!

batgirl said...

Eons? Thanks, bud, I wore a pinafore my childhood, to keep my clothes tidy while fingerpainting.
Specific clothing or accessory terms are a handy way to signal the setting to the reader. Spandex bike shorts for one era, pinafores for several others.
What did remain unclear to me was Cynthia's age, since a pinafore could make her either a very young child or older but a servant.

Trivia: a pinafore was originally a cloth pinned afore (on the front of) the dress to protect it. Later it became an overgarment with ties and straps. In N America it's called a jumper, which in the UK refers to a sweater.

Matt said...

I actually didn't mind the way it was written. I would have read more.

Dave Fragments said...

It seems to me that the author gives the unknown speaker (the thought person) all of the tension and gives Cynthia all the mundane actions -- sneaking out of the house.

I think that you need something else. I think you need Cynthia to reveal something that creates tension. At least more tension than just sneaking out.

I don't know who or what the "thought person" is. Those characters are always tricky to write. They can't be omniscient because that spoils the story. Neither can a "thought person" just be a info source. So I have worries about this "thought person" speaking to Cynthia to create tension or action or a sense of dread. Author beware.

Wes said...

I agree with Dave. There is a lot of setup, but we don't know what's at stake.

_*rachel*_ said...

That's the one, EE!

Isn't that an awful lot of description for a scene where someone's hurrying and hiding? My tense scenes usually have shorter sentences, mostly about what people are doing. Of course, if you're trying for a more... I don't know, antique... feel, then this might do it.

jmartinlibrary said...

Author: I agree with the other comments about too much description. It slows the story down. But hey, it takes one to know one; I, too, overwrite a lot.

Sephina said...

I wasn't expecting it to be posted so soon.

It's funny because most of the things you all are suggesting that shouldn't be there are things others wanted me to put in. It gets really confusing after awhile.

I can't tell you how many times I've rewritten this.

Thanks for the comments!

Evil Editor said...

Never listen to others.

none said...

Yeah, that pretty much sums up why I don't use writers' workshops any more.

Tracey S. Rosenberg said...

EE - never listen to others! That's great advice! I'll follow that. that means I shouldn't listen to what others tell me - including you.

So I'll listen to others.


*explodes from paradox*

Evil Editor said...

When a person has sought and received advice from EE and his minions, and then complains that said advice contradicts what was said by "others" it should be clear whom EE is referring to when he says "Don't listen to others."