Monday, April 02, 2018

New Beginning 1077

As an art student and painter, I’ve seen my fair share of bodies. Quick sketches of the human form are a basic step in developing the artistic skills of drawing, painting, and sculpting. However, no amount of figure studies prepared me for the sight of the lifeless body that lay next to me.

The dead man lay on his back, one arm stretched towards me along the grass. His hand lay open as if he meant to grasp my wrist, his forefinger curled in an abandoned attempt to touch me.

My gazed traveled over the white cuff of his shirt and beyond until I found his shoulder and, above it, his face. One sightless eye stared back at me. The other half of his face was smashed and bloodied. A cracked, wooden frame covered in blood lay between us.

I turned my head and heaved.

“Miss? Miss? Can you hear me?” A man’s voice asked.

The touch of a warm hand on my shoulder nearly brought me out of my skin. Another man, this one alive and wearing dark clothing, knelt beside me. I looked up into a pair of honey-gold eyes set amid beautiful caramel skin. He had short hair, close-cropped, military style. And shoulders that made me drool just a little.

“Who? You?” I dredged the words up from the thick gray matter that served as my brain.

“I’m Mr. Hottie,” he replied, or something similar.

The name fit. I was swept away to an island. With a white beach. Water clear as glass. And a warm Latino lover holding me in his arms, setting my heart aflutter.

“Can you tell me your name? Do you know where you are?” he asked.

“Emily,” I said and closed my eyes for a kiss.

No kiss. Instead, he said, "Emily, let me remind you where you are. This is the Pontypridd College of fine Arts -- the best art school in this town. All Professor Randall said to you was, 'You need to work on your brushstrokes and your use of color is a little pedestrian.' Oh, and you're going to have to pay for that frame."

Opening: Pam LaFollette.....Continuation: ril


Evil Editor said...

P1: I would change However, no amount of figure studies prepared me to However, no figure studies could have prepared me.

P2: To me, if the hand is open and reaching toward Emily, curling the index finger would not indicate he was trying to touch her. A closed hand with an extended index finger would be an attempt to touch.

P3: Gazed, not gaze. Also, if I'm lying next to someone whose face looks like this guy's, I'm not focusing on his hand and his shirt for so long.

P5: "A" should not be capitalized.

P6: When you say "another man," my first thought is that there are two living men, the one who spoke to Emily and another one. Since he is the same man who spoke to Emily, no need to tell us he's alive. I would delete the first two sentences of P6 and add the last three to the end of P5. Also, considering the situation, I find it hard to buy her drooling over some guy's shoulders.

P7. Not crazy about "Thick gray matter." I'd go with "Puddle of goo that currently served as my brain."

I guess the beach and Latino lover are meant to show that Emily is shutting down, in shock, but I'm having trouble buying it under these circumstances. I would expect her to at least be putting some distance between her and the corpse, not going gaga over the new guy, no matter how hunky he is. Of course I don't know exactly what's going on regarding how she came to be lying in the grass next to a corpse, so maybe her reactions aren't as abnormal as they seem.

Mister Furkles said...

Can't go for the sudden switch from waking up next to a bloody corpse and sexual attraction to some stranger talking to her. She just retched and that may be natural. We would guess, until told otherwise, that she knew the dead man. So her reaction should not be:

(1) Oh dear, Bob is dead and all bloody--by the way how does she know he is dead?
(2) Retch.
(3) Wow, look at this cute, hunky guy, just want to screw him on the beach!

Let her discover how cute and hunky Freddy is after she recovers from Bob's murder.

Also, it isn't clear what the broken frame is. A couple of words to explain would help.

Love the continuation.

Anonymous said...

Like the previous commenters, I'm having trouble with the abrupt switch from dead body to sexual attraction. If this is a story about how dead bodies started putting her in the mood, it's still too abrupt for the opening.

Depending on genre, dead bodies do sometimes talk, so I didn't have as much problem saying the alive guy is alive, although without more than the one dead body specified, it does seem a bit redundant, and I do wonder if there's a zombie/undead guy with a hand on her shoulder in addition to the guy kneeling next to her.

Much as people are told not to start with someone waking up, if she's waking up from a nap on the grass in the park and finds corpse next to her you should probably start with her waking up.

Anonymous said...

Ha - I initially thought that Emily had literally been swept away to a beach in a bizarre, time/space/dimension jumping manner. That's how abrupt the change was.

The attraction to Mr Hottie made her come across as having a ridiculously short attention span. Of course, some do find proximity to death arousing - many celebrate life after attending a funeral by having a vigorous shag (hopefully once they're actually away from the cemetary, but, hey whatever works). I suspect that you were trying to portray that sensation but it does not come across as genuine. I think a recovery period after the initial shock is needed before they can switch into 'carpe diem' mode. (yanno, once they are satisfied that the person is really dead and not just in a coma or sleeping or really just a discarded wax figure or something!!).
(Or that the danger that killed the fellow has actually gone and does not continue to pose a threat. Fight or flight mode time!)
I also think more context is needed - some of the previous commentors thought that Emily awoke to find the corpse beside her, but I thought she was a bystander taking a stroll/jog in the park and came across the dead fellow.
Keep going!

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:

"Whoa!" said Mr. Hottie, holding me at bay with his strong Latino arms.

I opened my eyes. "What's wrong, lover?" I asked, my voice slurred and strange as I kept my lips puckered for a kiss the whole time I was talking.

"For starters, you just puked," replied Mr. Hottie. "Also, you're lying next to a dead guy, and apparently that turns you on. Are you some kind of freak?"

Rage flared in the pulpy red muscle that served as my heart. "Now you're starting to sound like him," I said, jerking my thumb at the dead guy. "What has a girl got to do to get some loving around here?"

"You're crazy, lady. I'm calling the cops."

So much for being swept away to a white sandy beach. He wanted me swept away to prison, or the loony bin. No way I was going back there after they discontinued Art Therapy. As a painter, I was familiar with a palette knife, and had one in my pocket. Someone's caramel skin was about to be splashed in crimson.