Sunday December 12th, 2010

The exercise:

Today we're going to revisit the first line prompt. I'll give you the start of your first line and you take it from there, in whatever direction you choose, poetry or prose.

Here you go: The burglar moved through the house...

More painting done this afternoon, leaving only one last coat of paint on one wall for tomorrow morning. Kat and I also had our first meal in the cabin, as we warmed up our lunch in the oven and sat at our freshly moved in dinner table in our freshly moved in chairs.

Flooring tomorrow night!

Mine:

The burglar moved through the house, wincing as his erratic heartbeat seemed to echo off the walls. His bare palms were slick with sweat and he wiped them on his pant legs as he came to a stop at the bottom of the stairs. Peering up into the darkness, he listened intently but heard no signs of movement. Releasing a breath he hadn't realized he was holding, he carried on into the living room.

He wished a flashlight had been allowed but the rules were firm: no lights, no weapons, no gloves. Just get in, get the goods, and get out. It was up to him to figure out how to do that without leaving any fingerprints.

Sliding one foot in front of the other, he made his way across the hardwood floor. He resisted the temptation to look out the front window, knowing that they'd be watching and waiting to pick him up once the job was done. It wasn't lost on him that they would be gone at the first whiff of the cops.

His mother had warned him to stay away from them but what choice did he have? His family needed the money to avoid getting kicked out of their apartment and reputable employers weren't exactly knocking the door down to offer him a decent job.

He forced himself to focus on the present as he eased the painting off the wall to reveal the safe it had been concealing. They'd provided him with the combination, though he had no idea how they'd gotten a hold of it. He told himself it didn't matter as he turned the dial with trembling fingers.

As the safe clicked open the alarm shrieked through the house. He grabbed the envelope lurking inside and ran for the door as footsteps sounded on the floorboards overhead. 

He was reaching for the door handle when the first bullet tore through the back of his left leg.

5 Comments:

Greg said...

Heh, the way you leave the revelation of the flooring still to be done to the end has me picturing you and Kat sitting precariously balanced on the beams that will support the flooring while you eat!
Hmm, great prompt, and an intriguing story too. I like the element of betrayal in it, subtly signposted by the impossibility of the task. I might have skipped the 4th para myself for a piece this short though: it kind of plateaus the tension that you're building at the moment. But great work anyway!

The burglar moved through the house following the trails of bloodspots. Ahead, floorboards creaked and someone -- Valentino, assuredly -- cursed. The burglar eyed the floor ahead, shining but hard to see clearly in the light from the rose window. He moved on, his weight shifting slowly, carefully, feet sliding rather than lifting.
A junction, a point where a second hall met the first. The shadows deepened, the rose window was behind him now. A larger spot of blood in the middle of the junction, but Valentino wasn't that stupid to just stop there. The burglar saw the set-up for the trap, and waited.
Floorboards creaked again, to the left. Valentino was there, in the second hall, but trying to lure the burglar in. His eyes flitted around, and there! a patch on light paper on the wall where something had previously hung.
The burglar tensed. Valentino knew why he was here, so undoubtedly he was now waiting in the second hallway with the antique kora, determined not to go down without a fight.
The burglar slipped a hand into his jacket and pulled out a gas grenade. It wasn't sporting, but it was a damn sight easier than chasing a madman with an ancient persian axe-sword.

Zhongming said...

The burglar moved through the house keeping his noise level to minimum. There was no one in the house except the state of art security system in place. His goal is to get his hands on the cash worth as much as one million. It was well hidden in a briefcase that nobody should have access except his boss. He hold his breath, move in tiptoed, slow, quiet and steady while watching his steps. Out of a sudden he had someone coughing and it was just around the corner. He had no choice but to quickly find a hideout. Left with little choice so he opened the closet, move in a flash, close. He cover his mouth, hold his breath and movement while looking through the tiny hole. Sounds of doors rattling, he saw a couple kissing and creasing each other intimately. They were soon making out and the burglar can't do a thing but stay as firm as he could until he couldn't stand it anymore. He push opened the closet and directed his gun towards them and demand that they hand over the briefcase. The couple were defenseless and could only give in.

summerfield said...

marc, i like that i could picture how your protagonist feels just by the way you describe him. i agree with greg that you could've skipped the fourth paragraph because even without it, i have already developed a sympathy for your protagonist just by the sort of predicament he finds himself in.

greg's piece evokes all the senses in such a short piece and makes the reader (at least i do) sympathize with the burglar as well. how i wish i could do that, too!

zhongming, the end of your piece seems like a cliche, but i suppose in reality that's what one would do inorder to save his or her own life.

good work, gentlemen.

i was aiming for funny, but it didn't come, and i got carried away (over 600 words - there was my quota for the day) so it's a bit long . when you have time, mosey on down and try reading it and please let me know if it makes sense.

Marc said...

Greg - loved that scene. Could picture it perfectly. And perhaps not sporting, but definitely smart :)

Zhongming - I could almost picture that in a Bond movie!

Summerfield - I'll be over there shortly :)

Papple said...

The burglar moved through the house...
I didn't know what to do. He goes to the fridge opens it, sticks his head in and.... BAM!! Me armed with a wooden stick was hitting a burglar. Wait, that's no burglar. Sorry Dad.