Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wordsmiths Challenge - The second time out..



Courtesy of the return of Wordsmiths, my second time out... Be nice..especially you, KF.



The running stopped years ago. She was finally able to walk down the street without looking over her shoulder, no longer jumping at every loud noise, and years since she stopped feeling haunted by the past, by the memory of his hands, his fists.

She ran to one of the nondescript square states in the middle of the country, to a nondescript town filled with nondescript houses on nondescript streets. She changed her hair, lost weight, changed her speech pattern. She was a librarian now. No busy Wall Street firm. No business suits or cappuccinos or happy hours in trendy Manhattan clubs. No more high priced personal trainers and nutritionists. Instead, she had stacks of musty books, gum-smacking teenagers, mind-numbing hours using the crumbling “overdue” rubber stamp; she had diner coffee, an occasional glass of grocery store wine and a ratty pair of running shoes waiting by the back door.

She grew vegetables. She made apple pies for the church bakes sales. She went to church and pretended to pray for the sick elderly parishioners, the newborns, and the recently widowed lady that lived across town near the school. She pretended to pray for them, and not for just that he wouldn’t find her again.

Then it came back. The sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. The cold shiver running up her spine, someone walking across your grave, the kids would say. Then one day, she knew. As surely as if he had reached across the room and touched her hand. He was there, in her little town. Watching.

She packed a small bag. She left in the hour just before dawn. She held onto the hope that she was wrong. It was just a trip to the coast. . She’d walk in the sand, taste the salt air, eat taffy.

She hoped. She drove.
She reached the coast two days later.

She checked into a little inn with a pretty view. She took a shower and ate a light breakfast with the innkeeper. She checked her lipstick in the mirror over the little table by the door. The silver handled letter opener banged noisily on the hardwood floor as she pulled on her overcoat. She bent to pick it up and without looking at it, slipped it into her coat pocket.

It was beautiful here, clear sky, clear water, everything she’d imagined. She walked into the twilight, watched the families pack up their belongings and head for their cars. She turned back as the dark settled in.

She felt him fall into step behind her.

He reached for her shoulder. She spun and stepped into him, sinking the pretty letter opener to the hilt. She watched him fall, his mouth silently opening and closing like a goldfish suddenly missing his bowl.

She reached down, removed the blade, wiped the pretty silver clean, and sidestepped a baby turtle as she walked to the water’s edge and threw the opener out into the ocean.

10 comments:

rennratt said...

Whoa.

tiff said...

Go Cravey!

This has a somewhat mezmerizing quality - the repeated descriptors speak to a kind of mental blandness o nthe part of the protagonist. Not sure if that was the intent. Using simple words does indicate singularity of purpose (to my mind) so bigger words would have cluttered up to flow.

One thought: because you have 5 words yet to use (yes, I counted), would you consider adding "into his chest" to the stabbing sentence? It would maybe clarify where that daggone letter opener is going,and how very much anger she has to expend.

Also, might want to reconsider her wiping the letter opener clean if she's going to chuck it in the ocean anyhow. I thought "what's she wiping if off ON?". The sentence reads fine without that added action, and would give you 5 more words to use someplace else if you wanted to.

Them's my two bits of critique.

What I liked: the calm tension, the deliberateness. This woman has had quite enough and takes matters into her own hands. Not that I'm condoning murder, but it's possible to see how someone could go there to preserve a life they've struggled for.

Her Roo-ness said...

i wanna know more.
now.
now.
now.
now.
now.

utenzi said...

See, Kerry can play nice!

The fiction element is fine, Cravey. You write quite well.

I've often wondered with this type fiction though how in 'ell the villians find the peope hiding. I'd think that it'd be easy to stay hidden if you had the money to hide well in the first place. Lots of authors raking in the big bucks use this plot technique so I guess people like it.

Anne said...

Oooohhhh... Very nice.

Kingfisher said...

Just because I'm honest doesn't mean I'm not nice, but I do kinda like the reputation.

This creeped me out, so you must have been successful. I love how the turtle made and insignificant appearance, thereby pointing out the seriousness of the rest of the piece, while at the same time indicating the protagonist's nature. She could have stepped on it, or not noticed it. It gives depth. I'm not sure you intended it, but the muse stuck something in there.

I don't have much overly critical to say, other than the death at the end was kind of telegraphed early on. I don't know how you could do it differently, though.

Great job!

(See? I'm not really a mean bastard.)

kenju said...

Excellent! And I was right there with the letter opener, driving it in hard! LOL

Roy said...

I liked that! Good one.

I do take exception to this:

"She ran to one of the nondescript square states in the middle of the country, to a nondescript town filled with nondescript houses on nondescript streets."

You have her on my block, but you didn't mention my name!

No Celery Please said...

Oh Nice! And the best part... she is now free to move back to Manhattan!

OK, so in the spirit of Wordsmiths... the critiquey part:

I loved the goldfish image. I think it's probably been used a lot, but geez, it just fit so well... who cares if others have used it?

As a whole, I thought this flowed quite well. I had a hard time deciding if I liked the single sentences breaking up long paragraphs. Finally, I decided that I did. I think it's a goot effect and breaks up some of the tension.

Good stuff!

Biff Spiffy said...

Holy crap.

Spectacular.

Since I got here so farking late, I don't have much to add... mesmerizing, check. Goldfish, check. Insignificant but revelatory detail in the turtle, check.

Great story, write more please.