Wednesday August 1st, 2012

The exercise:

Welcome to August (already?)! Let us get the month started with a little randomness. The Random Book prompt, to be exact.

Find a book or short story, preferably one you haven't read yet, and use its first line as your own. Credit goes where it's due, as always.

I pulled mine by going through Edgar Allan Poe's Complete Tales & Poems. In related news, Poe has a whole lot of opening lines that are completely unusable for this prompt.


The Facts In The Case Of M. Vandemar - Edgar Allan Poe

Of course I shall not pretend to consider it any matter for wonder, that the extraordinary case of M. Vandemar has excited discussion. Indeed, I would wager that there does not exist a man, woman, or child in this town who is not intimately familiar with the precise details of the whole sordid affair.

Although, most assuredly, it is not a tale any child should carry the terrible burden of knowing. Had I any say, all children not yet in their teenage years would have been sent away for the duration of the... unpleasantness.

But, of course, I did not. My time of power and influence is still, sadly, yet to come.

Come it shall, however. And when that propitious day dawns these gossip mongers, loquacious layabouts, and back-fence newsmen shall pay a price most dear for what they have done to my innocent brother's reputation.


Greg said...

Heh, it's been August for over twenty-four hours over here :-P
I like the way you've adopted Poe's style a little for the story today, you're channeling it rather well. You've got that slightly rambling prose he uses, and the elliptic ideas, down near-perfectly.
Of course, you've also just whetted our appetite for more of this story!

I pulled The works of Washington Irving, Vol. II from google (Google Play this time). Apparantly he wrote "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" which Tim Burton made into a rather good film :)

To an American visiting Europe, the long voyage he has to make is an excellent preparative. The many weeks at sea, staring out across blue-green waters into the desolate unknown, are calming to the mind, and the lack of space in the cabins, the lack of home comforts on board, and the ugly European women alert the American mind to what is to come. I was therefore, not at all surprised to step down from the gangplank at Southampton and be nearly run down by a dray drawn by four horses. Jumping nimbly forward, I collided with some ruffian in a top-hat who attempted to beat me about the head and shoulders with a stick he had undoubtedly stolen from his betters. I struck him forcibly on the knee with my foot, and then removed myself from his reach, whereupon a burly constable laid his hand upon my shoulder.
"Good God man," I said, facing the moustachioed upholder of the law and wondering how long he'd been drinking for before attending to his duty. "Can't you keep the riff-raff behind ropes or something? A decent fellow shouldn't have to be confronted by this sort!"
"I carn't unnerstan'a bloody werd yer sayin'" said the uniformed blackguard. "That's Lord Lytton ye've just assaulted though." His meaty hands closed upon my upper arm, and despite his corpulence he proved stronger than me.

ZeroCore said...

This is the first time I'm doing this so I hope it isn't to painful for everybody to read. Pulled the line from the Nook Book catalog at Barnes and Noble. I haven't yet, but I think I'm going to have to get it just by reading the first line.

The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

As always, before the warmind and I shoot each other, I try to make small talk.

"So, did you see that Twins game last night" I blurted without even thinking how they played the night before.

I felt the bullet ripping though my left arm before I hear the report from the pistol. Opps, the Twins didn't play well at all last night losing 5 to 7. Oh well, might as well fire back. The shot got him in the left leg. At least that is done for the day.

"Sorry about that, forgot they didn't play that well" I quickly added.

The warmind just turned in walked away, darn cyborgs can be so unsociable. You'd figure that would at least try to say something before they shot you. Just like every morning the medic rushed out, poked the wound, and wrapped with the healing tape. Two minutes later the wound was completely gone and it was off to training for the day. I really don't know why they shot me every morning, and I haven't got a chance to talk to the other people around here. I guess we are to busy trying to kill each other for some reason or another. I think it's been about three years now.

As I walked to the arena I heard a loud siren go off, well at least that's something new, the old routine was getting boring. Wonder why that thing was going off. I heard foot steps running down the hallway and a man came barreling around the corner, stopped for a second firing off a couple rounds at something I could't see and ran towards me. He looked up at me and blurted:

"Time to fight back! Attack them now, if we fail they will just heal us up anyway."

Hmm, makes sense, might as well, the pain here is just temporary but will come everyday no matter what.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

from The Salmon of Doubt, Douglas Adams

The sweat was dripping down my face and into my lap, making my clothes very wet and sticky. I was told that it's not the heat that gets to you but the humidity, but I don't weather either particularly well, which was particularly unfortunate.

Everything felt simultaneously prickly and slimy. I was about ready to give up on the effort of clothes, but of course the clothes I was given were of such a cut and material that was just inflexible enough to make pulling them off in this eensy closet of a space next to impossible. And even if I did have the wherewithal to try and rip the shirt it would've been impossible anyway; the whole thing was too damn well made.

I slid down the wall, and looked up at the lone exposed lightbulb in the ceiling. I was tall enough and the ceiling was low enough that I could've unscrewed the bulb to help bring the temperature down a little, if I'd thought to do so two hours ago, wasn't such a sissy about sitting in a hot dark room for God knows why, and my sleeves were just a little longer and had a little less polyester so I wouldn't melt the skin off my fingers.

I continued staring at the light until my eyes felt pricklier than my skin, which didn't take very long, and moved on to staring at the wall before me.

Good God, why was I here?
- - - - - - - - - -
So I've no idea what that is.

But it's something.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, it's hard to not follow in his style when using one of his opening lines. I was tempted to use the opener from The Masque of the Red Death since it's nice and short and more open to interpretation.

I quite like Sleepy Hollow - in fact, it's one of the few DVDs that I own.

Wonderfully atmospheric opening! I'd quite like to read more of this :D

Zerocore - hello and welcome to the blog! Thanks for jumping right in and sharing your writing with us :)

That's a pretty sweet opening line, and I think you did a great job with it. A very intriguing situation your character has found himself in, with a chance to escape from it to boot!

g2 - great details really bring your scene to life. I particularly enjoyed the second last paragraph.

And indeed it is something! Which, when it comes to writing practice, is always better than nothing :D