Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for Show, not Tell


   The shadows lengthen, creating eerie shapes that stretch and stretch and finally melt together as the sun vanishes behind the buildings. I lift my shoulders against the chill breeze as I step off the main road and into the alley; the shortcut will get me home sooner. I think of Ma’s cooking and my stomach answers with an uncomfortable twist.
   Something falls behind me and I glance over my shoulder. Is that the figure of a person? I stop and turn fully. There is no one there. After a moment I continue on my way, my legs carrying me faster this time.
   But I’m certain now that there’s a second pair of footsteps, an answering echo to my own hurried gait. When I stop they stop. I feel the heavy weight of watching eyes on me. This time I don’t bother to look behind; I just run.
   My feet pound the cobbled pavement and breath fills my lungs in gasps. I round a corner and grab hold of the side of a dumpster, pulling myself behind it. My boots slip on some sticky substance and I hit the ground, but I’m behind the dumpster now, out of sight.
   The stink of rotting rubbish fills my nose and mouth, but I ignore it. I peer into the near darkness, my heart hammering against my ribcage, my eyes roving with saccadic movements.
   Waiting.
   Waiting.
   And then I hear it: the quiet crunch of footsteps. He moves without hesitation around the side of the dumpster, blocking out the dim light as he looms above me. His image shimmers before my eyes as tears swell, balance, and then tumble down my cheeks. I taste salt on my lips.
   “Please,” I whisper.
   He stretches a hand towards me.


In this 293 words excerpt you're supposed to be able to figure out (without me telling you) that:

  • it's dusk
  • I'm scared and hungry
  • I think someone is following me

I also had to use the random words shimmer, saccadic, substance and salt and try to incorporate all five senses. Oh yeah, and there are 27 S words in there (which doesn't come close to Rach Harrie's 41, but hey, I tried!).

You can check out the other Show, not Tell entries here.


21 comments:

Alison Stevens said...

Oh my. I want to know what happens next!!

J.C. Martin said...

Oh noes...short cuts home = bad idea! Good job with the 27 S words...I only managed 23 in mine--and some are repeats! :)

Kari Marie said...

What happens??? I couldn't muster up the brain power for this challenge, but this was awesome.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Wow, I could really feel it!

erica and christy said...

Well done! My FAVORITE part: But I’m certain now that there’s a second pair of footsteps, an answering echo to my own hurried gait. When I stop they stop. I feel the heavy weight of watching eyes on me. This time I don’t bother to look behind; I just run.

Awesome writing. I'm hooked!
christy

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Great job! I'm left wondering if he's a good guy or a bad guy. Love the tension here!

Sierra Gardner said...

Scary! This one really creeped me out - this is the kind of stuff I have nightmares about. Great job though, really felt like I was right there.

Laura Josephsen said...

Fantastic job. I got shivers reading it and that twisting in my stomach that means I fear for what might happen next.

Michelle Merrill said...

I like your descriptions! Good job on using the five senses :)

D U Okonkwo said...

The number one rule of writing. Well said!

Madeleine said...

I enjoyed reading your entry. Great! :O)

Nicole L Rivera said...

Love it! Great job for being tired :)

Zan Marie said...

Wow! Nothing like dumpster air to turn your stomach. ; ) Great answer to the challenge.

Kerrin said...

wow, great tension!

Nelson Souzza said...

The blog is very good!
Congratulations!
http://nelsonsouzza.blogspot.com

Rachael Harrie said...

Ooh, creepily chilling! I loved this line the most: "His image shimmers before my eyes as tears swell, balance, and then tumble down my cheeks." So evocative :)

And well done on all the "s" words ;)

Hugs,

Rach

Kerri Cuev said...

Oh my goodness I need to know what happens lol. Great job!

Nofretiri said...

Oh, come on! I know, 300 words only ... but you can't leave us with such a cliffhanger! *sigh*

Well done! Great use of the specifications!!! :-)

Karin @ Nofretiris Dream Of Writing

Crystal Cheverie said...

Very cool! You're really good with the five senses - I could smell the rotting garbage etc.!

Grant said...

I particularly like "And then I hear it: the quiet crunch of footsteps. He moves without hesitation around the side of the dumpster".

Captures the essence of a confident and clinical skilled killer. And then the verb "stretches" in the last sentence raises all sorts of doubt in this conclusion. Nice work.

Grant @ Grant's Big Blog

Deniz Bevan said...

I was right there with her. Hope it turns out to be a misunderstanding and the pursuer is offering something good!