Sunday, November 28, 2004

Writing My First Scene

Things really started moving last night: suspense, destruction, mayhem. I also finally got around to writing the first scene I had sketched out in my "idea notebook" a month ago.

Here's how it turned out (first-draft style):

The door to the office was locked, so he kicked it in. If he needed to cover his tracks later he could say a tree branch had fallen into the door and broken it, or the old standby: It was already broken when I got here.

The trailer was also on the generator, so there was plenty of light for Graham to find his way around the broken remains of the office chair to the desk. Graham didn’t think long about the office chair, he looked quickly for blood, but not seeing any decided Kennedy and Gantt hadn’t gotten into a knock-down drag-out fight.

He opened the desk drawer and pressed the power button on the phone. He heard the same series of beeps and boops he had the night before and then the LCD screen flashed “Ready.”

Graham looked around the desk for a phone book. Not really expecting to find one, he wasn’t greatly disappointed when he didn’t. Figuring the hospital would have a listed number he figured dialing 1-541-555-1212 would do the trick (check eastern Oregon area codes).

As he pressed the INITIAL DIGIT “1” a stream of water hit him in the temple. Graham checked to roof of the trailer for a leak, but didn’t see one. He took two steps back from the desk and hit the “5” key. Again a stream of water hit him, this time squarely across the bridge of his nose. He looked up at the ceiling, and then closely at the phone. He turned the phone sideways and hit the “4”. A small JET of water sprayed from a pin-point hole below the LCD screen.

Graham turned the phone over and pulled the battery pack off the back of the phone. A small tube dangled from the exposed back of the phone. The battery unit was a hollow reservoir filled with water.

Graham threw the PRACTICAL JOKE phone on the ground. He rummaged through the desk for the real phone.

Panic mounting, [he] picked the toy phone up off the ground. It was identical to the phone Gantt had proudly shown him last night. The brand name, WHATWASIT, the green LCD screen still reading "Ready," the dial tone that still blatted out of the speaker: all the same.

If Gantt actually used this to talk to his BENEFACTOR, Graham thought, he was either heavily into the miracle business or he was a madman or ....

As the word “madman” rushed through Graham’s brain the generator began to sputter. The lights dimmed and then went out.

Graham could hear the screams of Gantt’s audience and the squelching sounds of feet running across the soaked DEAD grass. Graham fished his keys out of his pocket and pressed the button on his mini-flashlight. The office was lit weakly, but Graham could see the doorknob of the office door reflecting the glow of his flashlight.

As he made his way around the desk, he tripped over the remains of the office chair. He fell to the ground, dropping his keys as he broke his fall. Blindly, he felt around until he heard them jingle as his hand brushed against them.

He grabbed them and climbed to his feet. He pressed the button. Flashlight on. Doorknob there. He crossed the room and braced himself as he reached for the knob, certain Gantt, the toy phone using madman, would be on the other side.

He turned the knob, ready to run out and leap the stair rail if necessary. Instead, as the door swung open, he screamed as looked into the DEAD eyes of his friend, Emil Kennedy. His neck was clearly broken as it lolled sideways against the wall of the closet Graham had opened by mistake.

Graham reached out and touched the cold face of the ex-priest. “God bless you, my friend.”

As he stepped back to shut the closet he looked down and saw a thin black book on the floor. Graham remembered Kennedy had a book like that when he had fished out his keys earlier – was it only six hours ago? He stooped down and quickly grabbed it up: Tobin’s Spirit Guide.

Graham shoved it in his pocket, as he SHINED the flashlight around the room until he found the RIGHT doorknob. God help anyone on the other side, he thought as he opened the door and ran outside.

(daily word count: 3,660 words; total word count: 64,358 words; words remaining: n/a)