I’m going to try and work on the "story a day in May"–and of course if you haven’t noticed, I’m late on it. But that doesn’t matter to me. I’ll start at the beginning, even though it’s not the beginning of the month, and work my way up. Here’s hoping I can stick to it!
May 1st – Keep it short
Write a story of not more than 1,200 words.
WARNING: vulgar language.
Damn that bastard, leaving her out here in the woods alone.
Everything in their campsite is thrown about. Trashed. You’d think a wild animal had come here. Amy shudders at the thought of a bear approaching them in the night and rummaging through their things for a late night snack. Counts her blessings that it hadn’t been them.
Maybe that’s why he left? She looks around the campsite, looks at the disarray. And a thought comes to mind, fills her with dread: What if something had gotten him? No animal tracks that she can see, but she’s no wildlife expert. Her pulse quickens, she tells herself to calm down; he simply left her as a joke. Or punishment.
He’d done a good job on clearing all of their things. Everything of theirs is missing, leaving only the essentials. A ruined, dilapidated pit where a fire had been the previous night, empty bags and boxes of snack food, flashlight, blankets. The only thing she had left was the slim piece of clothing on her body. What the fuck, Bryan.
She makes her way onto the path they’d taken, hoping she wouldn’t come across any stray hikers or couples…or bears. There’s been a lot of sightings lately; news headlines always cautioning people to be safe and aware, especially after someone did get hurt. She picks up the pace a bit.
The sun’s overhead–she wonders how long she’d overslept. How she overslept. For months her internal alarm always went off close to six in the morning, a good thirty minutes before she actually needed to get ready for college. College break gives her a chance to do more–tanning, shopping, drinking. Camping. Scratch that off my list of things to do.
She stares at the uneven ground, not feeling much of its rough coarseness against her bare feet, glad that her home isn’t too far from here–glad that she doesn’t have to bum a ride. Stray branches from trees reach out, but don’t touch her. The chilly air causes her nipples to harden against her silk nightie, and she crosses her arms over her chest, feeling more self-conscious than usual.
She loves flaunting her body in college. Teasing all the guys who she later gets with–but not often in a serious relationship. Casual sex is all they want out of a blonde-haired beauty with all the curves in all the right places.
Her feet carry a slow pace. She feels exhausted. Feels like crying.
She can never get a decent guy. Are there even any available these days? Maybe her friend Jasmine had taken the last one. Jackson Felts. Now there is a man who had sensitivity, kindness, and a vast sense of patience about him. Not to mention the appeal.
Oh come off it.
She prefers the stereotypical bad boys, anyway. They were more fun, adventurous. Dangerous. A mystery in what they were going to do or say next. And the sex.
Ugh, the sex.
Or lack thereof.
That had to be why Bryan did this to her. She wouldn’t go down on the dirty ground, where there were tons of creepy insects, and lord knows how many animals had pooped on that spot, absorbed into the ground, practically disappearing from sight. He’d gotten pissed. She couldn’t help it, the thought of her back digging into nature’s toilet. They’d gone to bed directly after. She’d still felt horny, still would’ve done it in their sleeping bag, in their tent. But he’d wanted to do it by the fire. It probably would’ve spit a spark at her, burned her. Not that that would’ve been new. Different guys did different things.
Sirens blare in the distance. She’s by the road now…another mile or so until she reaches her house. She keeps close to the forest, darts inside it, using it as a shield. The sirens don’t move closer. They stay back to where she’d come from. Wonder what happened. Wonder if someone found Bryan’s body. She stops herself, turns. No. Can’t go back. I’ll just go home, call his cell. He’ll probably laugh it off. It pisses her off, but she’d be happy knowing he’s alive and well.
Cars pass by on the road. Numerous of them. But nobody honks their horn, slows down. She stays in the shade. Camouflage, she pleads, please keep the creepers away. At twenty-three she’s come across too many of them already.
The creepers don’t find her.
She finally reaches the house, damp, sweaty, chilled. Cold as the grave, as her mother sometimes put it. She prays her mother has lunch ready, or at least some kind of food. She’s too exhausted to even think of cooking.
The door’s open; her mother almost never has the air-conditioning running, open to guests anytime they’d like to step by. She hates that. Steps inside.
“Mom? Home early.” It smells like meatloaf in the house, mingling with spices. She’d love to chow down right now, but plans on going upstairs before her mother sees the attire she wears. The telephone rings. Her mother answers, putting it on speaker phone–she does this when cooking so her hands are free. The voice on the phone sounds like Jasmine, urgent, desperate. She creeps closer to the kitchen.
“Jasmine, calm down. What’s the matter?”her mother asks.
“It’s Amy. She’s dead.”
My first three chapters are complete, and now it's time for me to fix them all up in order to throw them into a contest, which has a deadline for entries in less than a month (erk!).
The prologue is pretty much a final draft at this point, so it's onward to chapter one! My rough draft version started out with the first paragraph below.
It’s the fourth time they’ve watched the woman shoot the zombie, nudge it with her high heel when it collapses. No surprise she keeps dying, Raiven thinks, twirling an unlit cigarette between her fingers. The room holds a silent tension and smells of buttered popcorn, a hint of burnt kernels staining the air. The snacks had been eaten two movies ago, empty bottles of soda litter the coffee table in disregard. When the woman goes down with a scream, Dale Baxter’s enthusiasm breaks the silence.
After figuring out what the heck was wrong with that paragraph thanks to several critiquers, I've fixed it up. It initially should be three paragraphs, not all in one, despite in my head it was everything that Raiven was noticing. Plus of course there was the whole woman screaming that broke the silence, not Dale.
But anyway, I changed everything around to fit below.
It’s the fourth time the nameless woman in Zombieland cautiously approaches the zombie she’d shot down. No surprise she keeps dying, Raiven thinks, twirling an unlit cigarette between her fingers. She sighs, a deep inhalation smelling of buttered popcorn and burnt kernels. Her stomach growls; it’s been hours since she’s eaten or moved from her spot on the floor. Five cans of soda have her bladder almost at full capacity. She shuts her eyes, presses her forehead to the carpet. Damn this dare.
Much better, in my opinion, compared to the first one. I'm going to be having some fun with this, but man I hope I don't slack on the whole deadline thing!
Separate names with a comma.