May was just second month of the Strong Scene contest and as with April I found an enormous amount of talent out there As a writer I always try to see the good qualities in a piece of work, especially when I'm only reading a small excerpt. So it's with this in mind I decided to post some of the highlights of this months contest. The scenes below didn't make the finalists list for May, but these are some fine writers whose work deserves to be seen:
June got up, switched the television off. She walked through the dining room and into the kitchen. Yates was lying on the floor, eyes open and crinkled at the edges. His grin was lopsided like a six year old with a bag of lollies.
The dishes were very clean.
The paint hadn't even dried yet on the door lettering, when she opened the door and stood admiring the name, "Jim Richards, Private Investigations". She looked to me and gave me a million dollar smile and slinked to the chair at my desk, seating herself, slowly crossing a pair of legs that screamed, lick me. She flipped back a shock of blonde hair from her gorgeous face and looked at me with eyes so deep, I was lost in them, then she called my name.
"Mr. Richards," she said in a sultry voice, then paused. Then said again, "Mr. Richards. I want my husband killed."
I suddenly came out of my daydream, staring at a frumpily dressed, middle-aged, mousy, brown-haired woman, staring at me through glasses thick as bottle bottoms. I said, "Excuse me, you want your husband killed?"
"What? Oh, my goodness, no! I said I want him tailed, or followed, whatever you P.I.'s call it," she exclaimed.
"Ah, I'm sorry, I'm a bit jet lagged from a flight back from Las Vegas," I lied.
"You here for the IT job?", Ed asked as he slid on to the chair.
"Yeah, you?", the man responded quickly, keeping his eyes straight ahead, focused on the receptionist.
"Yup. Sounds like a tough job though. My friend works here. He says they make the IT folks do Navy Seal combat training first just to get them ready for the harsh demands of the job.", Ed said nonchalantly, as he brushed a piece of lint off his old grey sweater.
"What?" The young man turned suddenly and looked at him. "Really?"
"Yeah, didn't you know? This company has a big deal with the government. So, in good faith they agree to send out employees once in a while to help with special OP missions. Its all top secret. In fact, my friend is over in Zanzadeababway right now. He should have been back about a month ago but his Mobile IT unit hit some land mines and he's still in bad shape. Its a damn shame ..."
"James Goodwin?", the receptionist called out.
The man next to Ed stood up and left out the exit.
"Pffft ... what a rookie", Ed muttered, "I guess that puts me next."
My dad was dying and I didn’t know what to do.
As I stood at the kitchen sink, filling a pan with cold water, I looked out the window at the flurries of white fluff dancing in the wind. Cottonwood trees were shedding seeds of new life on our farm, while seeds of death swirled around the planet taking root and growing in every human host they could claim. And now the black seeds of the pandemic-plague had found fertile ground in Dad.
Donna J.P. Riley:
There wasn’t enough pain in the world for men like this. I wasn’t worried about how long this would take, I had all night, and there’d be plenty of time for cleanup when he was dead. “Have you ever heard about the butterfly effect? At least that’s what they used to call it. Now they call it the chaos effect, but both work don’t they? They say that a tiny little butterfly on one side of the world, beating their wings, can, under the right circumstances cause catastrophic weather conditions on the other side of the world? It’s true, I didn’t believe it at first either, but I guess stranger things could happen.” He was looking at me and I smiled and flashed my trademark wink. Right eye. A weakness yes, but so worth it.
“Call this the butterfly effect, there are always consequences, and I’m yours.”
Phil van Wulven:
The front edge of the wing looked wrong. I squinted against the reflected tropical sunlight and focused on the area where I’d seen something move. I hoped it wasn’t real. Maybe a hallucination, a flashback, like they said happened sometimes when you’d dropped acid. I looked away, squeezed my eyes tight shut, and then looked again. No such luck. One of the aluminium plates vibrated up and down. Another rivet popped out, and a bigger section of the wing worked itself loose. If I hadn’t seen that rivet fly, it wouldn’t have been worth a second glance. The wings always flapped and bent around, and nothing ever happened, on these journeys from home in Zambia to school in England and back.
She quickly dropped her backpack and began sifting through it for the bottle of muriatic acid. She’d packed her chemical kit just in case and now she was glad to have had the foresight. With steady hands and trembling knees she carefully squirted minute streams along the top of the smooth stone. Once the solution began to boil and disperse the buildup of mossy growth, she took a sharp breath when two sets of words began to glow beneath the steam.
He muttered to himself. “Come on, man, what was in today’s newspaper?” Damn, he was losing his memory… or his mind.
Then he caught a whiff of gardenia. His grandma used to reek of it. Something was messing with his brain.
Through wet eyes he noticed Greta looking back down the aisle at him. “Jack, your stop, buddy.”
He hadn’t noticed the usual lurched halt. He staggered up and patted Greta’s arm. Then he looked back at her as she rubbed her head. Other passengers rubbed theirs.
As he dismounted, he spotted a newspaper billboard announcing ‘Wednesday lottery results’. Hey, he thought it was Tuesday. Did he have amnesia?
The sidewalk baked his shoes as the bus grumbled away. He thought of the bus driver.
Greta’s face had looked sallow, green. Had he infected her? Nah. Who’d ever heard of infectious amnesia? If she’d caught it, then maybe all her passengers, and new passengers and their kinfolk. That’s one hell of a messed up world.
I walk alone. My feet padding silently along the floor of the empty hallway as it stretches out in front of me. I am once again in my mother's dream.
I slip through as softly as a cloud caught in a peaceful breeze. I am here to help her but she will never know that. No one ever remembers when I'm in their dreams.
I guide people through their nocturnal escapades. I show them the way when their problems become too much for even their dreams to handle. This is what I was born to do.
I am Cassie O'Bryan and I am a Dream Walker.