Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Beginning 957

I initiate in a large, dark room. Muffled calls echo like sound waves under water. I smell butter and salt…popcorn? A beam of light blinds me and then the dream shifts into startling clarity. A dark, crowded room – no a tent. A huge tent. With carnival music.

Am I being fed to the lions again?

Inwardly, I shudder, then notice my wrists and ankles strapped to the large round board behind me.

What new hell is this?

Amanda Huggins steps into the ring. Twin ponytails bob above her shoulders as she beams at the shadowy crowd and then bows with a flourish. Her fire-engine red jacket, a modified coat and tails, glimmers with sequins and jewels above matching shorts and slick black boots.

“Ladeeeees and gennnnntlemennnnn!” A man’s voice drawls over the loudspeaker, “Introducing the Amaaaaazing Amaaaaandaaaa! A master of the Impalement Arts, Amanda will demonstrate her daring skill with deadly accuracy by throwing twelve razor-sharp blades at her assistant! Due to the potentially lethal nature of this act, I must ask for your complete silence.”

The blond-haired, blue-eyed cheerleader from school holds three daggers aloft and faces me.

Wake up wake up wake up!

 I scream, but no one in this dream can hear me. I can’t move. I can’t beg. I can’t breathe. I can’t even close my eyes.

Amanda takes a step back and then hurls a machete at my face.

* * *

As the credits roll, Josie can't help but think that Hunger Games II seemed a little rushed.

Opening: PLaF.....Continuation: Anon.


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

I de-initiate in a large puddle of pee. --anon.

The steel blade spins in slow motion as I slump, straining against my restraints, resigned to my fate. It is, after all, my own fault. I broke the rule. I'm doing the one thing everyone agrees I shouldn't do. I insult them all with my defiance as I start my story with a dream. I--


AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Well-written. I'd read further.

"Initiate" as an intransitive verb is a snag, though... particularly since the prose really glides otherwise. I assumed it meant something was going on here that doesn't normally happen to people, hence an abnormal verb use... but it snags.

Evil Editor said...

The trouble with starting with a dream is that if you tell us it's a dream up front you drain the tension from the scene.
Anyone can dream she's a knife thrower's assistant. Eventually she'll wake and be back to her boring everyday life.

But if you tell us it was a dream after you've built the tension we feel we've been manipulated.

If it's not a dream I'm not sure how the three daggers became a machete. The only possibility is that it's an LSD trip. Some kind of hallucination. You know the thrower makes the big bucks and the throwee makes minimum wage, so I'm pretty sure all knife-throwers' assistants have to be drugged before going on.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

I'm guessing it's a person whose dreams have an uncomfortably tactile quality. But I'm only basing that on the word "initiate".

journeytogao said...

I came here to say that "initiate" is a fail. And lo, it already seems to be the consensus. That unchosen continuation, "I de-initiate" etc. is a pretty good indicator.

I get the idea that it's a dream, so the dreamer comes to exist, or finds himself, or materializes -- but you're a writer, so you can shuck those cliches and do something more imaginative and lively. "I sail off a cliff and into a large, dark room" or whatever. And don't denote the dream.

One other small thing. I'd "get" Amanda Huggins a little better if you substituted one of her articles of clothing with a body part. Weird, I know, but if I saw her pink thighs or plump calves or double chin or whatever instead of one less detail about her jacket, I'd have a better image.

Otherwise, I like it.

none said...

Oh, is this the character who features in her schoolfellows' dreams? That would make (some) sense of the use of 'initiate'.

I loved "Am I being fed to the lions again?". Loved.

Rachel6 said...

I especially liked the first paragraph, with the sight, sound, and smell so nicely evoked.

The two questions she asked herself, re lions and hell, were pretty much awesome.

PLaF said...

Hello everyone.
Great continuations!
Thank you very much for telling me what you liked as well as what you didn't like. I appreciate your observations.
I'm bummed nobody likes "initiate," but will heed your advice and change it.
Buffy, you guessed right. I'm not 100% certain I'll open with this sequence, but it's the best of what's been written so far.
Thanks again everyone!