Thursday August 16th, 2012

The exercise:

Write something with an element (or two or three...) of suspense.

With Kat away, I'm taking the chance to watch things on Netflix that she wouldn't be interested in. Things that tend to be either on the action side, the dark side, or both. Things like Dexter.

So, in short, I blame Dexter for this prompt. And the odd dream I had last night. And what follows.

Mine:

I'm imagining it. Of course I am. It's been a long day and my tired brain is playing tricks on me again. I should be used to this by now.

And yet...

As I move through the orchard, on my way back home shortly after the sun ducked behind the mountains across the lake, I see it again. Something moving amongst the apricot trees to my left. The legs of some monstrous wild animal. Hunting me? No, I'm being silly. I'm alone, nothing and no one else around.

No one to hear my screams for help...

There's nothing over there, I know that. My movement is causing the trunks to seem like moving legs as they appear between the gaps in their fellow trees. I am the Earth to their Sun. Once I stop moving, all movement stops.

See?

All is still. All is silent. Everything else was in my head. I need to -

What was that?

3 Comments:

Greg said...

I want to see a comment from Kat on this blog post telling you that she's busy watching Dexter in Vancouver because she thinks you wouldn't be interested in it :)
I like the natural feel you've got in the piece, it almost sounds like one of your editorial pieces, something that might have actually happened to you.

Suspense
They say it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. I'd like to humbly suggest that this isn't always the case. Sometimes, when the darkness is pressing in so tightly around you that it feels like a physical presence, hugging and suffocating you, it is better to remain within its embrace. The noises on the edge of hearing, the scritching, scratching sounds that disappear when you turn your head to locate them are actually quite soothing. The little pinpricks of colour that appear in your field of vision because your brain is bored with the infinite darkness are reassuring.
And then you go and spoil it all by lighting a candle.
There's the hiss of the match struck against the rough edges of the sandpaper, the flicker of yellow light that makes you squint because your eyes are adjusted to straining in the night. Then the slow growth of the flame as the wick takes it and pulls up the candle wax.
Then there's the realisation that the circle of light is growing still, and growing faster, an expanding sphere of incandescent gas with you at its centre. As the light and flame rushes outwards, the roar of combustion mounts in your ears, drowning out the screams of the now-toasty monsters that were leaning in towards you. Drops of ichor from ivory fangs evaporate mere millimetres from your face, and the smell of singed fur invades your nostrils like a well-armed burglar staging a home invasion.
The sphere of light goes out.
The candle remains burning.
The monsters know where you are now, and while they were just curious about how you might taste before, now they're furious with you.
You snuff the candle out.

Cathryn Leigh said...

Hm... 15 minutes before I have to leave work.. Suspense... *cracks knuckles and stretches brain muscles.”

Yeah... Not sure if this works, but I’ll give it a go


Boogie Men in the Night

There are things out there, though it seems demeaning to call them things, but I have no other name for them. They are there; out on the fringes of our senses. Perhaps they are curious, or perhaps that want to eat us. I don’t know, but I can feel them.

They chase me thought the dark house, sending tingles up my spine from the basement to the bedroom. But even there it’s not safe. It’s not until I am wrapped up tightly in my sheet, head tucked under, body calming down into sleep that I can rest.

But what protection does would a sheet really offer, if they truly wanted to get me?

Suddenly I’m hoping that they’ve skipped the developmental milestone of Object Permanence.

Marc said...

Greg - while that certainly would be hilarious, it also would be completely untrue :P

And it probably feels that way because it pretty much did happen. Just without that final 'What was that?'. When the earth/sun came to me as I finished my walk, I pretty much had to write it down.

Yes, well, I should have known you'd rise to the occasion for this prompt. Excellent work.

Cathryn - I know you don't go there very often, but I do rather enjoy your darker writings.

Also: that's impressive work for a 15 minute deadline.