Monday February 8th, 2010

The exercise:

Today's prompt: cliffhanger.

Because I enjoy a good one every now and again. And I like torturing my readers with them too :)


Muscles burning with fatigue, sweat saturated skin, the sensation that the sun was focusing its heat on him alone, the forty feet of sheer rock face above him, and the one hundred foot drop to the forests edge below. None of these things can pry the smile from Marcus Danielsons face.

Up here outside worries are given no time or space to grab hold of his mind. Marcus doesnt think about the recent concerns hes been having about his wifes strange behaviour. He doesnt even allow himself to remember the odd look she had given him when she passed him his climbing rope this morning. Every fibre of his being is focused on foot and handholds, both the ones he is currently making use of and those awaiting his tanned fingers and toes.

Marcus pauses in his ascent to hammer another spike into the rock, giving it a hard tug before moving on. It is a beautiful day for a climb and he is fortunate to have such an accepting supervisor who understands his deep need to get above and away from it all when work stresses approach unmanageable levels.
He may not be aware of thinking about any of this, but as his fingers slip off of the rock ledge above him and he begins to fall, one has to wonder whether his subconscious was fully concentrating on the dangers at hand.


Greg said...

Hehe, superb! So pregnant with possibilities, and I've no idea whether his wife has damaged the rope, if he's trying to escape, if you're pulling a double bluff and he's trying to fake his own death.
I really like the little details about the climb as well, they bring the scene to life.


She perched on the edge of her chair as she reached for the teapot. It was Wedgewood, part of a set they'd picked up in England last year. She'd loved it so much that she couldn't keep it for best, and now she used it every day, sometime for both elevenses and high tea. The tea poured out in an even golden stream, splashing into the crude mug with the words "My favourite maid" written on the side.
A gust of frigid air rustled her skirt suddenly and she looked up. James was stood at the french windows pulling them open. He was covered from head to toe with blood; it was running down his face and puddling at his feet; there were bloody smears on the glass where he'd leant against it to gain leverage. When she saw what was in his other hand, she started screaming, and he stepped through the doorway.

summerfield said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
summerfield said...

WOW! cliffhangers, indeed. did a tree break marcus' fall? and greg, what did the wife see; why was there blood? whatever the answers are, just please don't write that those two were only dreaming.

here's mine:

In my mind, I have killed my father a thousand times. In many ways - shot him with his service revolver; through his heart at close range; another time, dead center between his eyes; stabbed his face and mutilated his body with Mother's expensive chef knife; placed a snooze around his neck and pulled it so tight I could hear his bones snap; drowned him in our backyard pool as he finished his sixth bottle of beer; buried him on the beach, his head sticking from the sand and watched his eyes bulge as he desperately undug himself when the tide came in. Yelling, begging, swearing.

He sleeps on the sofa, head facing the wall, mouth slightly open. He makes low gurgling noise. A large fly lands on his forehead and his hand moves to swat it. The fly falls on the carpet, not dead but its wings are askewed from its body. He opens his eyes, looks at me then smiles and closes them again.


"Yes, pookie," he mumbles still with his eyes closed.

"Daddy, what happens when you die?"

Silence, then the gurgling noise again.

"Will I go to jail if I kill you, Daddy?"

"No, pookie, you won't kill daddy, would you?" He turns to face me and when he sees my hand, his eyes bulge in horror.

"Rowena!" he screams.

Marc said...

Greg - thanks, glad you liked it :)

And that's quite the place to cut the scene off, as it were. I liked the little detail about her being unable to keep the pot for best only.

Summerfield - I promise none of my stories will end with 'and then I woke up' :)

That was quite chilling. Nicely done.