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by Kane 

Posted: 11 November 2004
Word Count: 372
Summary: This is the opening paragraph of a short story.

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The ropes are beginning to chafe. They carry things in their hands. The shapes are obscured by their meaty fingers and, though I try to push the geometry out of my mind, I know what they’ve been honed to do. It’s only a matter of time before the violence of those things is released, and then it will all be over in seconds. Not knowing what to expect is usually the worst thing. But I know exactly what to expect. I downloaded it from the internet and saved the horror in a pdf. It was research. I’m here to do a job like any other. Despatches from the front line of hell. I’m beyond the front line now. I’m not just reporting the news. I am the news. Everything keeps replaying inside my head. The abduction’s on a fifty seven second loop. The sound drops out. The image blurs and skitters out of the frame. It’s all hand-held, of course. Cinema verite. Broad daylight. Who’d have thought it? Coming out of the air-conditioned hotel lobby into the arabic heat. A beaten-up Toyota van pulls up alongside and the panel door slides open. Masked figures emerge. A rifle butt lunges at my flesh, brings me to my knees. I’m thrown into the hot metal interior of the van, which is already pulling away, the door sliding shut on my last view of freedom: an American tourist coming through the revolving doors, a copy of the International Herald Tribune folded under his arm. I remember him from the newstand where I had almost stopped to buy a pack of gum. He was taking the paper from the rack and asking the vendor if he had a copy of Time magazine. So I thought what the hell and walked on by, across the lobby and through the doors out into the heat and into the arms of that fifty seven second moment of destiny. Maybe they were really after the American. The way he folded that newspaper so symetrically and placed it squarely in his armpit, that could only mean one thing: military. The cropped and the thousand yard stare. Except you couldn’t see his eyes behind the mirror shades that reflected my own abduction.

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Comments by other Members

Kal at 03:36 on 12 November 2004  Report this post
Hi Kane

Welcome to WW
I thought this was filled with suspense. I found mysekf feeking more anxious is i read on.

i look forward the reading the rest.


juleschoc at 15:07 on 13 November 2004  Report this post
Hi Kane..am new to the site myself.

I think the first thing you should think about is breaking the piece down into paragraphs. Even if it was only two. Most people are put off reading big chunks..including me but I decided to give it a go. You could start a new para at 'Everything keeps repalying inside my head.'

I like the way you bring mathematics into the piece..it's obvious that some sort of 'military' type operation or experiment is taking place so the words you are using are appropriate for the piece. However, I am a little unsure about the word geometry..but perhaps it's just me. It'd be interesting to see what others think about this.

You have nice choice of vocabulary. I like phrases such as 'skitters out of frame.' As a writer I am always on the look out for new words and I've just found one lol. Thinking about a story in which I can use skitter.

It'll be interesting to see how this story develops.


Nell at 08:20 on 15 November 2004  Report this post
Hello Kane, and welcome to WriteWords. This is a very tense, tight and well-written piece. The short sentences, the well-chosen details set the heart beating faster. I did wonder about the first two sentences though - had to return to read again, because although separate, when reading they tend to become one, as if the ropes themselves carry things in their hands. A damned goood start though - I want to read on.


Dee at 17:56 on 15 November 2004  Report this post
Hello, Kane, and welcome to WW.

I enjoyed this snippet very much.

I agree with Nell about those first two sentences. The first one is a great opening hook but I think you need to re-word the second one.

A rifle butt lunges at my flesh
I’ve always had trouble with the word ‘flesh’ being used in this way. It brings images of meat on a butcher’s slab – but it might just be me. Also, you’ve been so specific with other details that this feels a bit vague. Where exactly did the rifle butt land? His face? His guts? His crotch?

The cropped and the thousand yard stare.
Is there a word missing here? Should that be ‘cropped hair’?

Apart from that, it’s a very well-written piece and I’d like to see the rest of it.


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