Friday, March 12, 2021

New Beginning 1094

Patti followed her abductor’s instructions and forced her gaze back to the clear night sky. Jagged edges of pine tree tops scalloped the mural of stars in the night sky. Beside her, Carol screamed through her cloth gag. Patti dared to look away from the sky again. Carol writhed on the ground, trying to free her wrists from the zip ties that bound them beneath her. She kicked her heels uselessly against the grass.  Patti knew she should be trying to escape too, but her body was clenched with fear. She couldn’t move, could only alternate darting glances between her friend and the man who stood with his arms raised, palms out. 

“Yes!’ he shouted and pointed at the sky. “There! Amhaodhrah chases her prey!” 

Patti couldn’t help but look. A shooting star flashed, high and distant. Then Amhaodhrah appeared. 

More like a low flying plane coming in for landing than a shooting star, it looked like the sun was streaking through the sky toward them. Its face seemed to stare, impartial as it fell.  It lit up the forest in a fast forward of dawn through afternoon.

Finally a humanoid shape began to resolve, an indistinct shadow behind the glare. "I found you," it said. "I have come a long way." The light danced across the man, and the two women on the ground. "Your timing is perfect."

The man dropped to his knees. "What do you have for me, Amhaodhrah?"

"I bring you the light," was the reply. "Because you bought zip ties, duct tape, extra large Tuf-T bags, a shovel and our special Hiding Things in the Wilderness Where They'll Never be Found guide book, you get one of these nifty extra bright bluetooth GPS head lights as our gift to you.

"And it's Amanda. The name is Amanda. It's on my badge."

Patti's body tensed; she wanted to kick and scream through her bonds: On her last trip to Home Depot she spent over a thousand bucks and only got a measly apple corer for free.

Opening: Amanda Barrett .....Continuation: ril


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuation:

Up close, Amhaodhara was a sword of light with an utterly inhuman expression. Was that a face, or was it rage incarnate as seen through human eyes?

She ripped through the zipties as if they were spiderwebs. The cloth gags burned away to sparkles like champagne on Patti's tongue. Then she cut off the man's head, and his body slumped to the ground she flew off. Her twilight and his blood turned the field red, then darkness fell again.

Patti rose first, feeling her whole body tingling with freedom and the touch of magic. She helped Carol to her feet. "Well," she said, her voice somehow still full of sparks. "What do you think we should say to the police?"


Evil Editor said...

Not sure why the abductor claims Amhoadhara is chasing her prey (assuming the shooting star is her prey). The shooting star is high and distant, while Amhoadhara is coming in for a landing. If Patti & Carol are her prey, we don't need the shooting star. In fact, we don't need it anyway, as Amhoadhara obviously isn't chasing it.

Mandakinz said...

Thanks EE. Now that you point it out, I see that it's not clear from this passage that Amhoadhara is a meteor. The concept is two celestial bodies moving across the sky, except that the second one is much closer to Earth.

I take your point about not needing the shooting star, although I did need it initially as it was the basis for the writing assignment.

It's such an honor to have ril do the continuation. Loved it!

Anonymous said...

I think this is what we call purple prose: "Jagged edges of pine tree tops scalloped the mural of stars in the night sky."

You established "night sky" in the previous sentence, so don't waste precious words saying it again. "Jagged edges" and "scalloped" are painting two different pictures for me. Comparing a starry sky to a "mural" isn't making it any shinier, vast, or distant for me.

Then the sun is streaking through the sky. Have the earth and sky lit up like a sunny day now? I'm not asking to be smart; I'm just curious, because a heavenly body that big and bright would turn night to day. Aha, the answer comes about two sentences later: "It lit up the forest..." I'd put that in the "streaking" sentence. This leaves the face, falling (not streaking?), which shows impartiality rather than enthusiasm for the hunt.

I'm not idly picking nits here. The imagery truly didn't cohere; it jarred.

The guy with two girls tied up on the ground was quite creepy, however. His ordering them to keep still and stare at the sky is a fitting touch.

CavalierdeNuit said...

This is just weird. I have nothing to contribute except keep writing and someday you'll get there. Takes 10 to 15 years from what I've read.

jcwrites said...

Kudos to ril. Loved it.

Anonymous said...

I think the idea/situation here is interesting enough, but overall I'm having a disconnect with the narration. The telling doesn't quite match up with the showing or the situation.

The first sentence feels a bit clunky. I don't think you need "followed her abductor’s instructions" or it might be a bit better replacing it with the abductor giving instructions.

Pine trees scalloping a mural of stars might work in some contexts and be terribly purple in others. However, it gives me more a sense of 'craft project' or 'misty-eyed budding artist' than 'gun wielding maniac and kidnap victims.' It doesn't really work here.

If someone's wrists are under them, you wouldn't be able to see the zip ties even if you knew about them--that detail jars a bit. Carol kicking her heels makes me wonder if her feet are free and how far away the trees are. It sounds like a dense woodland (and the grass would be strange if they're in the middle of it) which would provide plenty of cover from bullets. Also, the abductor doesn't seem bothered that one of his victims is obviously ignoring his instructions so I'm wondering how difficult it would be for them to try to get away. How old are they? Probably not the sort of things you want me thinking about.

"knew she should be trying to escape" sounds more calm than either "clenched with fear" or "couldn't move" imply. Both together and "could only ... glance" is a bit repetitive.

Which direction is the meteor coming from? She's looking above the trees (and again I'm wondering how far away they are) which are close enough together to be scalloping the sky. The low-flying plane comparison doesn't work from what I think Patti would be able to see.

I think we're not dealing with an actual meteor here, but for comparison, airplane landing speed is ~150 miles per hour, meteor impact speeds are more like ~25,000 miles per hour. Also, you're first talking about a shooting star going across and then the meteor coming straight on. The change in direction felt a bit odd.

Is there an actual face on the meteor?

I don't suggest staring into the sun for comparison, but that simile isn't working for me either.

At the end I'm not sure if Patti is supposed to be on the verge of panic or giving into despair or trying to disassociate or what exactly.

You did establish time, place, some motivations, and situation nicely.

Good Luck

St0n3henge said...

You use the word "sky" five times in two paragraphs.

"A shooting star flashed, high and distant. Then Amhaodhrah appeared."
I'm confused. You said Amhaodhrah was the meteor, so what is the shooting star that precedes it?
"Its face seemed to stare, impartial as it fell."
Meteors don't have faces.
I think you're trying for flowery writing here and not quite getting there.

I suggest you read the type of writing you're going for. Books, especially novels, that are described as lyrically written with "poetic" prose.
Literally do a search for that. If you read enough of this type of writing you'll pick it up naturally and you won't get forced or confusing metaphors.

Mandakinz said...

Just wanted to thank everyone so far for the analysis, feedback, and encouragement. It's truly appreciated.