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Hide and Seek

by Mrbyte 

Posted: 03 March 2004
Word Count: 1797
Summary: My first piece, This was an exercise for me to see if I could lead the reader in the wrong direction.

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Hide and Seek

Dave shuffled across the hall. He stopped and looked down, the mail had arrived, two envelopes. He stooped to pick them up then pushed the lounge door open.

“Morning Sam” he said as he entered the room not taking his eyes from the envelopes.
The girl sitting on the couch half looked up from her book.
“Dad I’m reading” she snapped at him.
Dave stopped and looked over at her. The girl was eight but looked older maybe eleven or twelve in appearance.
“And why does you reading mean you don’t say good morning to me?”
Dave stood for a moment looking expectantly at Sam. It soon became obvious there would be no reply. Dave sighed “where’s your sister?”
“In bed..”
“No she’s not I heard you talking to her when I was coming down “
“oh yeah, she’s in the kitchen”
Dave bit his lip and shook his head gently.
Samantha amazed him she could be observant to the point of annoying, picking every little inconsistency up in a film or asking a thousand questions about a photograph in the paper, then not notice you had changed the car or you had dyed your hair!
When she was concentrating on something, as she was now with her book, she lost all track of what was going on around her she wasn’t lying about Jenny being in bed, she had just forgot.

Sam focused her attention back to the book. Dave knew this was the end of any conversation so decided to see what Jen was up to.
He threw the two envelopes on the dinning table as he walked toward the kitchen door.
“Good morning Jenny wenny” Dave said with a smile as he entered the kitchen.
“Put the cat down Jen!” the little blonde girl stood in the middle of the kitchen a tabby cat swinging by its front legs wide eyed and frightened in the tight grasp of the three year old.
“he’s not well” she said with a frown
“yes he is, put him down before he has your eyes out!”
Jenny released her grip and the cat dropped to the floor and scuttled away through the cat flap.
“you are so lucky Picton is such a soft cat, any other cat would have had you by now, the poor sod, you never leave him alone”
“can I have twiss wind a “ Jen was pulling on the door to one of the cupboards as she spoke.
“no not for breakfast sweetheart, have some weetabix eh?”
Jen was smiling now, her little nose wrinkling as she nodded to the suggestion.
“come here you little monkey” Dave swung her up into his arms and walked back to the lounge.
“Sam, were having weetabix want some?”
“no thanks”
“daaaad” Sam frowned
“ok, what about toast?”
“No, nothing I’m not hungry”
Dave put Jen down on one of the dinning table chairs and then went into the kitchen to fetch the breakfast things. As he returned with the bowls in one hand and the milk in the other he was greeted by his wife Ann. She stood her short brown hair still uncombed and her pink dressing gown untied.
Ann looked up from studying the post.
“what are they having ?”
Jen was no longer sitting at the table she was under it now with one of her dolls deep in conversation with it.
“weetabix was the plan for me and Jen, you want some?”
Ann screwed her face “nah I’ll have some toast I think, what are these?.... Bills?” Ann waved the two envelopes.
“Do they look open?” Dave’s eyes widened to emphasize the question, he shrugged “probably, open them and find out”
“nope, I don’t need to depress myself for the weekend, you can open them” Ann threw them back on the table then turned to Sam
“Sam I’m having toast you want some?”
“Yes please mum” Sam answered without looking up from her book
“I asked you that” Dave said with an incredulous look on his face.
Ann smiled as she glided past him on her way to the kitchen.
“come on wenny your weetabix is ready” Dave said still frowning at Sam as he tapped on the top of the dinning table.
“ok dad” came the reply from below it.
Dave pulled up a chair at the dinning table and poured some milk on the bowls of weetabix, he put the milk down and reached for the two envelopes.
“right then what joy do you two hold?” he opened the first one and before he had even pulled the contents from the envelope he knew what it was.
“ya know it beats me how these card company’s make a profit even at their interest rates with all the junk mail they send out….I mean they must spend millions on this crap…wenny come up here and have your bix poppet”
Dave took a mouthful of weetabix and then picked up the second envelope and ripped open the top sliding his finger along its length, he extracted the contents and unfolded the paper laying it on the table before him.
Ann entered with a plate of toast
“Sam here’s your toast” she held out the plate while Sam got up and collected it
“Well what’s that one?”
“I got the set, one trying to give me money the other asking for it back”
“well pay it today last time you left it you forgot and we got a late payment surcharge” Ann raised her eyebrows and gave him one of her stares as she went back into the kitchen.
Dave dipped his head under the table “wenny come and have your breakfast please”
He sat up right and called back to the kitchen “ok I’ll do it now online ok?.....you seen my wallet?”
“no, is it in your jacket?”
“Well I wouldn’t ask if I knew that would I?”
Dave polished off the last of his breakfast and took his bowl out to the kitchen passing Ann as she carried her toast into the lounge.
A quick scan of the work surfaces told him he hadn’t left his wallet in the kitchen. He clicked the kettles switch as he passed it
“you want tea Ann?”
“yes please”
Dave came back into the lounge
“I’ll just check my jacket” he said hurrying over to the hall door “Jenny, eat your breakfast, be a good girl please” he called back then he was gone out of the door and bounding up the stairs the door left to close by its self as he took the steps three at a time.
A minute or two later the door opened again and Dave was back.
“Nope not in my jacket” he said as he re entered the room
Ann sat at the table looking at a catalogue while eating her slice of toast, Jenny sat on her lap spooning weetabix into her mouth.
“It hasn’t gone down the back of the sofa again has it?” she said looking around at him.
“AH HA the old sofa trick, that’s a distinct possibility” Dave spun round to face the couch where Sam sat reading, he was just about to ask her to move so he could check the back of it when he heard the click of the kettle from the kitchen.
“Kettles boiled” called Ann.
Dave rolled his eyes “of course it has” he said changing direction again and heading for the kitchen and the boiled kettle.
“Its alright I’ll make it, you look for your wallet” Ann was standing and clearing Jens bowl up.
Dave considered saying something thought better of it and again turned to the couch
“Sammy can I have a look down the back of the couch for my wallet, just for a minute pops”
“Yeah, I’m going upstairs” Sam stood up leaving her plate and a piece of toast on the arm of the couch, and left the room.
Dave thrust his hand down the back of the couch he moved it all the way along the length but nothing was found except the usual crumbs, sweets and lint. He extracted this dubious booty and dropped it into the small bin by the television.
Ann came back into the lounge with two cups of tea and Jen in tow.
“Find it?”
“eh?” Dave looked up from shaking his hand at the bin “oh no, I can understand how kids lose sweets down the back of the couch, but explain how they loose half eaten ones to me, I just don’t get that…” he looked at his sticky fingers and grimaced
“bet you left it in the car didn’t you…”
Dave was wiping his hand on his pyjama bottoms.
“Oh yeah, bet I did, where’s your bag I’ll need the car keys”
“Down the side of the chair” Ann nodded her head toward the arm chair by the window “where do you want this ?” she lifted the cup of tea up.
“Just put it on the table I’ll get to it in a min”
Dave opened up Anns handbag and lying on top of its contents was the car keys
“Da daaa, got em” he said shaking them with his fore finger and thumb.
He quickly went to the hall and over to the door to the garage.
When they had first looked at this house Dave had been really taken with the idea that he could park his car and then go directly into the house without going outside again, he didn’t know why but that seemed really posh to him, he smiled as he took the key to the door from the hook where it was kept and unlocked the door to the garage.
He leaned into the darkened garage and felt along the wall until his fingers reached the light switch and turned it on.
At first he didn’t notice, he stepped into the garage looking at the car keys in his hand.
It was only as he pushed the key into the car door lock that he saw it.
There on the roof of the car lay the severed head of a dog its tongue lolling from its gapping mouth, blood trickling idly across the roof then down the windscreen and finally the bonnet to the floor.
The gruesome sight shocked him all at once. Dave let go the keys and they fell to the floor, he stepped backward, the sight too strange for him to comprehend clearly, his face more puzzled than shocked now.
“Ann…..” he said quietly
Then again a little louder “Ann…”
He started to go back in to find her, immediately he turned he saw the bloody message on the wall.


Dave paled
“Ann….start packing….he found us”

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Comments by other Members

Salty at 18:27 on 03 March 2004  Report this post
This is very clearly written, a nice depiction of domestic life and a great twist at the end, although at 1700 words I think it is too long by about five hundred words, but that is just my opinion. The ending is nice too, and I want to know more, like are they being stalked by some nutter, is it crime related, and if so why didn't the dude just kill the whole family.

As for leading the reader in any particular direction, I got no clues from the body of the story I was being led in a direction, but rather I was receiving a vignette of domestic harmony which read almost like a Pinter play.

Anyway, I think it is a brilliant brilliant first effort and your writing skills are already pretty good.


roovacrag at 18:42 on 03 March 2004  Report this post
More could be done with this.
Not tight enough, not enough strength.

Weak in many places.
Hate myself for saying it.

short story
combination of inspiration.
Beginning which is a promise of the interesting individual.
More should be put in words.
look at the scene.
Do you just see the person or the room as well?
Do not just say conversation,describe it.
Moods,feelings,timing,colours etc.
Even down to pulling your fingers through your hair.
Makes the reader see what you're doing.
xx Alice

Dee at 18:52 on 03 March 2004  Report this post
Hi Steve and welcome to WW,

I can see what you’re trying to do here. The normal humdrum family breakfast thrown into panic by the discovery of the dog’s head.

It’s a great idea but - what can I say – there’s too much detail. That might seem crazy but you have to give your readers some scope for their own imagination. You don’t need to explain every tiny action and every word of a conversation.

There are some excellent books available on the techniques of writing dialogue – or you could study how some of your favourite authors write it. The trick is not to simply replicate a normal conversation but to distil out the essence.

Where are you going with this? As a short story… Why the dog’s head? Is it the family’s dog? Who put it there? And why? How did they get it into the garage? If this is the opening chapter of a novel then, fine. Presumably you’ll go on to explain in later chapters but, as a short story, it just leaves me feeling cheated.

I hope you don’t see my comments as negative. I still get the heebie-jeebies when I upload anything so I understand how you feel. I know this is not what you want to hear on your first upload but I see you’ve joined as a full member - this tells me you are serious about improving your writing skills so I hope you will take these comments in the spirit in which they are offered – to help.

Please don’t be too disheartened. You created a very realistic family breakfast scene but, if I were you, I’d leave this on the back burner for now and start a new piece. You can always come back and polish it later.

Best wishes


I’ve just read your thread in the group forum. You say you don’t read novels or short stories. If you want to write them you must read them! Otherwise it’s like learning to play an instrument without listening to music. It can't be done.

Mrbyte at 19:36 on 03 March 2004  Report this post
Ian, Alice and Dee
Thank you all for your comments, they are much appreciated.
I did try a shorter version of this but it didn't seemed to 'build the picture'of a family enough
the Hide and seek I was trying to convey was an innocent one having the reader believe there is going to be nothing more than a hunt for a missing wallet or something like that then bringing them to the sudden realisation that the it is in fact a human hunt...

All fair comments though I felt (probably wrongly) that too much description created an air of something about to happen.

If you can see what I'm trying to do with this then I feel I have a measure of success with it.
as for what I where I want to go with this...nowhere really it was an exercise in writing an opening to either a short story or novel
though I do have the answer to most of your questions I had really gone as far as I wanted with this at the moment though I am a little inspired to rewrite it and extend it now....

Anyway fear not I'm not disouraged or offended by anyones constructive comments.......just keep your garage locked ok...;)



as for what I where I want to go with this
sorry had an england failure er english I mean
....queen Victoria very nice man :)

Ralph at 08:12 on 04 March 2004  Report this post
Hi Steve, and welcome to WW.

Something this piece definitely indicates is that you have a great imagination, which is a priceless tool for a writer. The head came as a huge surprise, so in that sense you did lead me astray...

Wondered though if it was worth integrating the idea a little more. Not knowing where it's come from or why does make it a very odd closure. There's a possibility in this piece for some of the earlier action/dialogue to be ambiguous... to keep the reader on the same tracks you do here but, at the revelation of the hunter, make them back up a bit and say "oh, so that bit meant..." and have hidden clues exposed. Does that make any sense? That might not work for you, but if you're going to carry two story lines, it's worth giving them both as much room as each other, if you see what I mean, and that's just one idea how you could...

Some of the descriptions of the family breakfast worked really well. Could visualise everything that was happening. Maybe have more confidence in what you're doing here, because you lead the reader into an image very easily - so less description wouldn't take anything away from it, but would tighten the prose a bit...

There's a few misplaced commas, full stops and things, but that's another thing that comes more easily with time. I always find that the more I think about where I'm putting them, the worse my punctuation gets. I think the emphasis really should be on getting those great ideas out into a form you're happy with at the moment. Looking forward to reading more of them.

All the best with it



anisoara at 12:19 on 04 March 2004  Report this post

I'll read the other comments after i write this because I don't want to be influenced.

I thought the scene of the family is very natural, flows very well. Very realistic.

And I had no idea it was going to lead to something like this, so the end was quite a stunner. Is this an extract from a potential novel?

The only problem I had was with the punctuation and spelling, simply because this detracted from otherwise very good flow.

At any rate, I'm hanging now, wondering what's next!!!


Mrbyte at 13:49 on 04 March 2004  Report this post
Hi Ani,
Thanks for your comments and taking the time to read this
I originally had no plans to take this further but since yesterday I have been inspired to develope this.
I don't know yet whether it will be a novel (hopefully) or a short story I will begin the sketching soon and will have a better idea what it will be then.
sorry about the spelling I'm afraid my spelling and grammar is carp..;)

Nell at 08:23 on 10 March 2004  Report this post
Hi Steve, I'm coming late to this, you already have excellent feedback, so there's not a lot for me to suggest. You say you wrote this as an exercise and don't intend to do anything with it. This seems a waste, as if you gave some thought to the comments you've received, and edited and adjusted accordingly it could provide valuable experience in improving your skills - there's nothing like actually 'doing' rather than just reading about how to do something.

Re. grammar skills, the easiest way to hone those is to read (and read and read). But as others have said, you've put a great deal of thought into this, set out to contrast the mundane and cosy with the shock/horror at the end, and succeeded. More power to your typing fingers, and a belated welcome to WW and Fiction 11!

Best, Nell.

Mrbyte at 09:07 on 10 March 2004  Report this post
Thanks Nell
I have since decided to take this further, and I am compiling my ideas now.
I will be working on a re write shortly
thank you for your kind comments and your welcome

Heckyspice at 12:14 on 11 March 2004  Report this post

A belated welcome to the group.

Not much more that I can add to what has already been said. The scene was well constructed with the family breakfast, it flowed well. There were some nice little dosmetic observations such as the half eaten piece of toast being left on the couch.

Maybe the dog head does not need to be in the closing scene, the writing on the wall would be menacing enough.

Good Stuff


ShayBoston at 10:02 on 08 May 2004  Report this post

I was impressed by your style. I really liked the dialogue between the family and the minute detail. I even liked the repetition 'come and eat your breakfast'. This is an authentic reconstruction of a typical family breakfast scene on a working day. But this is no typical family.

I'm not sure if I was led in the wrong direction as I was just immersed in the scene, not feeling I was going in any direction. But it's very good and has lots of potential. I hope you'll post more stuff.


Mrbyte at 10:13 on 08 May 2004  Report this post
Thank you Shay,
I am working on expanding this into ....something, just not sure if I have enough for a short novel or a long short story.
I intend to post lots more stuff, just as soon as I can get real life out of the way!

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