Sunday June 2nd, 2013

The exercise:

I had no idea that it has been so long since the last time I made use of the Random Book Prompt.

Which would be my way of letting you know that today we shall use the first line of a book, randomly chosen, as the opening of our prose. From there, after giving credit where it is due, we shall go where our imaginations take us.

Feel free to click the label to see previous examples. In case, you know, that description was so terrible that you need additional assistance.

On my day off I slept half the morning away. The other half was spent watching Max so that Kat could also get some rest. Then I helped Kat's parents put the nets on the cherry trees in the afternoon, and after dinner I finally mowed the lawn - because it really, really needed it.

So... yeah, not feeling particularly rested. If you'd seen the first draft of this opening you would not have needed me to tell you that (holy Typo City... which strikes me as a pretty good prompt, actually). I think I shall go to bed early.

Mine:

419 by Will Ferguson

A car, falling through darkness. The rush of air through open windows, forcing out all other sounds. Driver and passenger expressionless, though their postures convey more than they wish.

Outside the countryside slips past, unseen. Rolling fields, abandoned farmhouses, a lone owl hunting for prey. The narrow road continues its descent, carrying the rattling car and its occupants closer to the edge of the continent.

At the coast a town awaits their arrival. No streetlights illuminate its roads and buildings, the moon remains hidden behind lingering clouds. Only a single porch light battles the gathering night, though no souls brave the November chill to witness its struggle.

Within the home, however, a man is awake. He is waiting, but not patiently. He alone is expecting the arrival of the oncoming car and its two silent men. He knows what they want and how they plan to get it.

And he is furious.

4 comments:

Greg Bennett said...

Well, it may not have been terribly restful but it doesn't sound like a bad day :) Day's off rarely work out the way we plan them anyway. I always count myself lucky if I manage to arrange two hours on the weekend to do something just for me.
That's an intriguing start from a good first line. I quite like how the characters are steadily moving towards each other as though they're the only things that matter in the world. It adds weight and portent already!

I did a quick grab from google books again for mine; I should probably note that I've taken the first line of the actual first chapter, not least because the first line of the prologue is about six pages long....

Necroscope: The Lost Years
Getting up in the mornings was the worst of it, when he was obliged to leave his dreams behind. As his eyes fluttered open and the desaturated images faded, the garish colours of the real world invaded his brain again. Reds, greens and blues assaulted him, tasting of blood, bile and salt-water, and he flinched. The strange organ in his hind-brain spasmed and his hands clenched into claw-like fists, his fingers raking at the air, and his torso bent and twisted like an Ecstatic with tetanus.
Slowly he brought himself back under control, stretching out muscles taut like high-tension cables and sitting up carefully, setting his bare feet on the cold floor. Someone knocked on his door.
Instantly a vision of fire filled his mind, and the smell of smoke filled his nostrils. Something black and charred twisted in mid-air in front of him, and he felt terrible desire....

David said...

11 Rings by Phil Jackson

Cecil B. DeMille would have loved this moment. The crowd filled the street. Many streets. No room for a small child. Yet, they arrived. Crushing into one another. Needing to see. The body.

Three miles away the Barber sat on a stool in a bar. Like many bars he had sat in before. The crowds stretched in front of the window. Mourners. Women beating their chest. Men unable to control their tears. None of them would give a second look at the Barber, but he was the reason they were all there.

Two bullet holes. One in the chest. One in the head. The doctor pronounced him dead. The guards were put on high alert. Guns drawn. Trust loss. They did not know how the assailant entered. It could have been one of their own.

The body lay in the church. A godless man receiving a Catholic funeral. The priest eulogized a man he only feared. The wife sat in the front row. The children played next to her, not understanding. There would be more violence to come.

The Raven waited at a bar at the rundown beach resort. Tourists stopped coming when the dead man had taken power. The jeep pulled up. A military man, high ranking, approached. He shook hands with the Raven. Hands him the envelope. Instructions. Vengeance must be had. To show the people what would happen.

The funeral procession moved through the street. The people mob. They knock the coffin over. The body falls to the ground. His Sunday best. The Beard. Dead. The Barber pushed through the crowd. Rolls the body over and sees it is not the man he had killed.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

Wow, nothing good's happening to the inhabitants of the exercise today, and all of it so well executed!

And then mine's a return to a side tangent that's been fascinating my brain for a few scattered exercises now.

Also: it's now June. We have an excursion to make soon.
(question for Marc on that front: about how old is Yarel, would you say?)
- - - - - - - - - -
First line from Adrienne Toner, by Anne Douglas Sedgwick, found via the Random Order sort button on Project Gutenberg.

"Come down to Coldbrooks next weekend, will you, Roger? It's been a while, we used to go all the time."

"Coldbrooks?" I paused with my dishes. "I haven't thought about that spot in years."

"Exactly!" chimed Amy. "Thus we should go!" Even over the phone she sounded like bells and roses. It's always incredibly hard to deny my little sister anything.

"I mean, I can look at my schedule for the weekend, see what I can do…"

"Oh, come on Roger. I love you, but you and I both know that's code for 'I probably can't'. It'll be fun, and it's probably been a while since either of us have seen Connor."

"That's true."

"It'll be like old days, it'll be fun."

Well now it was pointless to say no. She sounded so excited, and frankly I was excited, too. "Have you gotten in touch with him about it?"

"I tried calling this afternoon, but he must've been out, I got the machine."

"Okay. I can't get out until late on Thursday, but I can clear Friday. I can crash at Connor's once I'm out Thursday, then we can both meet you in Coldbrooks for Friday."

Amy squeed. I had to hold the phone away from my ear, but I still grinned. "This will be so much fun! The Steelys reuniting for a day on the town!"

"Coldbrooks won't know what hit it," I laughed. "I'll give Connor a call tonight, and I'll call you again tomorrow to finalize plans."

"Great, talk to you then! Have a good night, Roger!"

"You too, sis."

I finished up the dishes, then gave Connor's number a call, but I got his answering machine.

Odd. He's usually home at this hour.

Usually such a thing wouldn't bother me, and initially it didn't. But then I had a very hard time falling asleep. I kept having weird dreams where I was lost in a thick forest of pine trees, but I had to find Connor before… what, I had no idea.

I thought I'd stopped having those dreams years ago.

After the fourth time waking up in a cold sweat, my hand blearily fish-flopped around for the phone.

"Hey Christie, it's Roger. It's 3:45 on Tuesday morning, and something family related may have come up that I have to check on later today. If everything's fine---it should be---I'll try to be in for at least part of Wednesday. I'll be in touch in any event."

Marc said...

Greg - no, not really a bad day. I just could use more rest than I've been getting lately.

That is a fascinating opening you've got there. Consider me intrigued by this character!

David - great tension here, it really builds to that powerful (and satisfying) final line.

g2 - one step ahead of you, it seems! And I've been thinking of him as 18 or 19, in that range.

I'm quite liking this extension of our Lunacy world. Makes me want to get back to it.

But then, I've been wanting to get back to a lot of things lately...