As I have announced in an earlier post, I am currently taking Sarah Selecky’s Story is a State of Mind e-course. I’m only on the second lesson, and the feedback I receive from the intensive group is doing wonders for my writer’s self-esteem.
So as a gift, I thought I would share something with you, something I wrote today as part of an exercise. It’s short and not finished of course, the beginning of a story, but it’s a beginning nonetheless. I wrote this in 15 minutes of focused freewriting.
It’s a bit raw, unedited and simplistic, but I think I achieved one thing I’ve been obsessing over in the past few days: can I write a sequence of scenes that makes sense?
You read, and let me know.
Annie reached in her pocket and felt something she didn’t remember putting there. It was rectangle-shaped, cold, hard, plasticky, with a little bit of heft.
She grabbed it and pulled it out, slowly, like one would carry a bomb, or a newborn. She looked down at the object in her hand.
Compelled to answer,–who leaves a phone ringing?–she flipped the cover open and put the speaker to her ear.
“Annie. Show up at the central station in one hour, or you’ll never see Mike again.”
He heartbeat shot up and her palms got sweaty at the sound of his name, of him being threatened.
“Who are you?” She tried not to let the panic show in her voice, but knew how terribly she failed.
“Central station. One hour. Remember Mike.”
The line went dead. They’d hung up.
She stopped at the nearest bench and sat down, trying to calm her frayed nerves. Her entire body was shaking and she could barely stop her teeth from chattering. She slipped the phone back in her pocket, the last lifeline she had to Mike.
She tried to remember… who had put it in? The streets were so crowded. A grey hoodie, skateboarding through crowded Manhattan streets. A man in a fine suit, almost falling on her, his weight in her arms as she caught him out of reflex. Him standing up with her help, and his smile as he thanked her. A pro, certainly.
The station was only a few blocks away, a mere 10 minutes at this hour. She had time to breathe, to think her way out of this.
She could go, she could follow the instructions and show up, alone, at the station where these men would certainly ask her to access some database for their benefit in exchange for keeping Mike alive.
She could not show and sacrifice her brother in the process. She wasn’t sure, couldn’t be sure of what they could do, but she could not afford to take this risk. Mike was too precious.
She could inform the police and have them come with her. There was still time, but if they could know when and where she would be this morning, they certainly could be watching her right now.
She stared up at the endless towers of glass and stone surrounding her and wondered which window her blackmailers were watching her from. Impossible to tell.
Yes, they would know, and they would execute Mike all the same. She had to go alone. She had to do what they said, for Mike’s sake.
Annie picked up her bag, now more or less in control of her shaking. She headed to the station with a slow, unsure step.
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