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Each genre of fiction incorporates specific nuances. Comedy must be ripe with jokes, thrillers constantly elevate the stakes, drama evolves conflicts, and horror unleashes fright. The best writers do not compress their stories to fit within the limitations of a single genre, but often utilize elements that will enhance their own story from parallel genres. When a song is composed it is written with a specific key in mind – but elements of the song will inevitably transition to other keys – relative minors, fifths, parallel minors, etc.
I have yet to write a horror story but look forward to utilize the elements of dread, terror, and shock. I am also certain mystery will be the engine that keeps the viewer captivated. I recently rewatched Pirates of the Caribbean (action) and was shocked to find just how frequently mystery was used to carry the story through each act. Major reveals catapult the first and second act into the third – the pirates on the Black Pearl are all dead, Will Turner is the son of a pirate, the gold medallion is valuable because an Aztec curse was placed upon it, and Jack’s seemingly garbage compass actually works precisely as its supposed to.
These captivating reveals are never dumped as information but occur as payoffs. In the beginning of the film we see Will wearing the medallion but do not know its significance. We know there is a supernatural aura regarding the pirates from the skepticism villagers display. Still, we have no reason to assume they are immortal. Jack Sparrow’s compass appears to move erratically – but he studies it as if its telling him something.
I feel that unfolding a story in this way requires the writer to know the secrets before they are revealed. That may seem obvious, but I remember another show where I am convinced the writers had no idea what the hell they were talking about. That show was “Lost” – where an airplane crash lands onto an island and everyone on board struggles to survive as they encounter supernatural phenomenon. The mystery that jaded me the most was the numbers – 8,16,32,64… something like that. I swear they spent an entire season talking about those goddamn numbers, including a flashback where a character won the lottery with the exact digits. Anyways, I finished the whole series and never found out why those numbers were so important. That left me unfulfilled and quite honestly resentful.
It’s easy to write a mystery when you don’t know the answers to the questions you are presenting. Imagine a rabbit starts eating a treat out of a box then suddenly disappears. Ya, obviously there is motivation for you to keep you reading, but the explanation is the pay off. If I tell you that the treat was a magic invisibility pill I’d wager you’d put the book down. But if that rabbit ate a genetically altered carrot that included a chemical composition discovered at MIT by 3 first year engineer majors, and that same composition is theorized to accelerate redox reactions by electrons, you might believe me. It’s incoherrent bullshit, but at least there is a method to the madness. You’d rightfully anticipate a legitimate explanation to how the rabbit disappeared and why that matters. I feel “The Prestige” is a great example of this specific comparison at work. The payoff was worthwhile, despite remaining unrealistic in accordance with real world science.
So as I begin my course with this story I must choose the information the viewer will receive early and the information that will be delayed. But more importantly than that, I must figure out the elements of fear that will make this story a horror. If I fail to find ideas that are terrifying and disturbing than I am better off writing a science fiction thriller. And those scares must occur repeatedly throughout each scene. Dread, however, is an awesome area, as it basically suspense with the anticipation of terror.
This is the end of my post. One day I will discover the correct way to end them.
It’s been a good week for me – episode 2 was viewed favorably and a producer requested one of the features that I’ve written. On top of that, my lens hood arrived along with a lens filter. I intend to film outside again. Last time the camera began to overheat when filming in the direct sunlight, so I believe these cheap tools should help alleviate that problem.
Episode 3 is a big turning point. I’ve mentioned here before that the first day of filming was wash, so I’m basically shooting it from scratch. That gives me an oppurtunity to rewrite the script and tweak it. I’m going to strengthen the story line, but the biggest thing I can do is reconfigure it for easier filming. The short cut to that will be having Josh leap off the rock immediately then get in my face to stop me from progressing. This way, we can placed the microphone closer to the scene and be able to run through takes more rapidly. (last time we filmed I was running to 3 different stations to make sure the camera and sound were recording before I got into position for the take. This was time consuming and cost us more takes).
But there is a bigger issue. I want episode 3 to be faster paced with elevated stakes and greater tension. Like I’ve said before, a story is about what happens. So instead of linking a script, I’ll just list out some shit.
If you haven’t seen episode 1 & 2, here is the just of what happens:
Episode 1 – Ryan (my character) has captured a hiker whom he accuses of being a cult member who played a hand in abducting his wife. The “cult member” manages to break free and leaves behind a piece of Melanie’s jewelry (Melanie is Ryan’s missing wife)
Episode 2 – Ryan shares his cult research with his brother, who suggests he is losing his mind. On his way out, Ryan’s brother suggest that he scope out “Ruggerman’s Trail” – the place where weird, supernatural shit has been reported.
Ok, that brings us this weeks project. As it stands, episode 3 plays out like this:
- Ryan hikes, searching far and wide for signs of Ruggerman’s Trail
- Ryan spots the pile of clothes that the captured cult member advised him about
- Josh prevents Ryan from proceeding and orders him to turn back
- Ryan tricks Josh and gets to the clothes
- Josh also has an ace up his sleeve, and the episode ends with Ryan in impending danger
That’s pretty much 5 pages. It’s the most action I’ve had in a single scene, and being that it is outside, I don’t believe I’ll be able to capture all the footage in one day. That is another motivation for me to reduce the scene with Josh to 3 pages, and dedicate 2 pages to raising the stakes and developing the overall story. Here is what I’m considering adding.
- Ryan searches a map for the location of Ruggerman’s Trail
- Ryan receives a call from his mother in law, who complains how she has only heard from her daughter through text messages, and desperately wants to come and see her face to face. She will arrive shortly.
- Ryan tells her he’s welcome, then rapidly packs his belongings and heads for the hills.
Those are the baby ideas that I’d like to develop into A, B, and C story lines. What I could really use is a logical reason for Ryan to recover the pile of clothes to redeem himself from any accusation of involvement and also prove his theory that a cult has taken her. I’m having trouble figuring out a good reason that Melanie’s clothes being retrieved by prove could somehow prove his innocence, however.
On top of this, I don’t have anyone in mind to play the mother in law. This isn’t a huge concern, as the role will only consists of voice-over audio included in the phone call.
I just want the episode to feel like a race, from start to finish, with one thing going wrong after another. I want it to feel like if Ryan fails to reach the trail he will be going to prison, blamed for his wife’s disappearance, and unable to shed any light on the secretive cults existence.
I’m open to any and all ideas at the moment. If you think you see a way that I could increase the tension, stakes, or conflicts in this episode, please do not hesitate to share your idea. I’m open to anything at the moment, but keep in mind that resources are limited. No new actors or expensive props are available at the moment. Thank you for take the time to read through this blather of a post, and I wish you a happy Easter.
If you would like to view episode 2, feel free to check out the link below.
I have nothing interesting or captivating to offer anyone today, just some mindless ramblings of what I’ve been up to, I suppose.
I was desperately hoping to film episode 3 of my webseries this week, but the rain has come down hard here in southern California so I’ve had to postpone all shooting.
I did, however, complete and upload episode 2. I am very proud of it, and feel it is my best work yet. My only hang-up is the coloring – the skin tones should pop out more, but I couldn’t figure out how to do that without turning the walls to orange. It is a lazy man’s mistake, but I always feel like I am in a race with my own persistence to complete a project and post it. When it is nearing completing, there is a part of me that fears any procrastination will lead to the video not ever being posted. It is a legitimate fear, however, as any person who blogs here knows it takes a certain bit of courage and determination to write anything for public consumption and critique.
Back to episode 3 – I filmed the beginning segment last week. I’ve been working with the footage and I just don’t think it’s salvageable. I’m a strong believer in avoiding reshoots at all costs, because that means time wasted. However, with the clips I have viewed, I fear I have no choice. Much of the acting is lousy, I look fat and out of shape, the mic was never close enough to hear my voice adequately, and the transitions are brutal. There’s a take where I am staring up the hill, turn to view the landscape, return to the trail, then spot the pile of clothes I am after. In the take I viewed, Josh is clearly visible in all the camera turns. It looks like a goddamn middle school project. One final note on the footage – the acting is terrible. Part of my job as director is to get the best out of the actors I have. We’re planning to film again next week and that will be an enormously important development I will have to take.
Anyways, thank you for taking the time to listen to my bullshit. I’ve posted episode 2 below in case you’d like to check it out.
As I mentioned we filmed again this past Sunday and I had high hopes going in. Brad and I were on night shift the hours before and began production on zero sleep. We planned to have our 3 pages filmed and completed by ten AM, when it would start raining. We weren’t done in time. I was supposed to have a black costume but we weren’t able to find one. The new, extended XLR cable I purchased wouldn’t attach to my recorder. After seeing the footage and audio on my computer – I couldn’t be happier.
I made a genuine effort to give an passionate acting performance. Brad surprised me because he did an awesome job and had some incredible takes. Keep in mind I drag him out for this and pay him nothing. He’s never acted in a single thing in his life.
Everything I uploaded and watched I have been completely happy with. Don’t forget I already filmed and edited the first minute of the scene one week prior,so the angles and wardrobes had to be continuous in appearance. But dear God is editing a pain in the ass.
If you’ve never edited anything before you might be shocked at the amount of time that it requires. It’s tempting at first to just throw the pieces together like some shitty quilt and sow, but after one brisk re-watch you will see that your video looks like something Michael Scott would make on the Office. Then, you learn a few tricks – like how to zoom or adjust the focus of the picture – and all of a sudden every little scene has an effect. Now you’ve got Gremlins 2.
Going into this, I knew I wanted story to be the emphasis of whatever I shot. Think about Martin Scorsese and how crisps the images are. There’s not a lot of big effects or crazy slow-mo shots in his films. They are focused on raw human emotion & reaction. That’s the kind of story teller I would like to aspire too.
The really wild part about editing is the amount of time it takes to make your film feel shareable. My total cut is going to be about 3 minutes 30 seconds. That’s fucking nothing. But it’s taking me since Sunday to finally get it to a place where I’M able to watch the entire thing and feel alright about it. Anyway, just wanted to update you. I want to have it posted before next Wednesday, when I’m loosely planning to film a second episode with a different unsuspecting friend who has no interest in being actor.
I have location picked out for my upcoming web series, which is a fancy way of saying I moved into a new place. But part of that move WAS motivated by the fact that this slice of land is absolute gold for any person trying to show a chilling tale.
You can’t see it to well, but there is actually a swing set and even a slide that were probably built 70 years ago (creepy). The picture above is the barnyard of the property. Inside there are 12 stalls and no horses.
So here are the resources for my story – A barnyard, me, incredible hiking trails, and friends. When you’re low budget, the resources inspire the story.
I like the idea of creating a web series of 5 minute episodes. I have an idea for a thriller plot that will keep viewers engaged and allow for using this location and utilizing the mountains. The protagonists locks up another character and interrogates him about the disappearance of his family. It will be unclear whether this captured character is innocent or guilty. It will be clear that the main character is under tremendous stress, and may have lost his mind looking for answers. But the key thing is, the barn is a central part of the story. Frequent, reoccurring use of it will appear logical and not heavy handed.
I want to write the script this week, then post it on here & reddit before production begins. It would be really great to hear feedback, and I think as a writer it’s always refreshing to read a script first before seeing how it all unfolds on the screen. My biggest priority is going to be building an audience of people who simply want to be entertained. That’s more important to me than entering any film festivals or following screenwriting 101 rules at the moment. But for now, I’m grateful for any person who takes the time to read these update and provide any insights they may have. So thank you.
He finished through the last row of vines and entered the tower in a blaze of panic. It had been 2 days since his last full glass of water and a meal a few berries. Lenny was in no mood to make new friends.
They smiled at him. Sharp, ear to ear grins.
“Congratulations,” the one with a black pendant necklace said. “We believed in you.”
A colony of men and boys. Heads, eyebrows, and faces all completely shaven. Wearing white, priest-like robes.
Lenny, on the other hand, had a beard, a torn Metallica shirt, and tennis shoes.
“Who are you?” said Lenny.
“I’m your keeper,” said the one with the black pendant. “My name is Sugar.”
“Sugar?” began Lenny, still panting. He grabbed the glass of water before a colony member had offered it and took a swig. “Your momma name you that?”
The colony grinned smugly, but none so much as chuckled.
“No,” said Sugar. He reached out and retrieved the empty glass. “But momma would like to meet you.”
Two of the more husky-looking colony members grabbed Lenny by each of his arms. Lenny resisted, snapping free from their grasps and turning for the door. He was stopped short by a dagger point aimed at his eye. Lenny returned to Sugar.
“I don’t know what this is,” Lenny gritted out. “I don’t remember what happened before I entered that bullshit maze. I just want to go home. I just want to return to my boring life.”
“Meet mom, and you’re free to go,” said Sugar.
Lenny eyed the rest of the room. These bald-headed clowns all displayed the same mindless expression. He’d been kidnapped by a goddamn virgin convention.
“Let’s do it,” said Lenny.
He followed along with the colony outside of the tower. So far he had seen swords and daggers, but no sign of any guns. Even if he was to fight his way free, where would he go? Lenny had fought so hard to escape that maze but he never imagined he’d find himself in a more perilous situation.
The walk from the tower was illuminated with Tiki torches lining the dirt path. The fires ran tall and provided some welcome warmth. White-robed colony members flanked Lenny on all sides as they walked in step-by-step unison toward the Gothic Cathedral. The outdoor area was surrounded by an Iron gate. Arrowed spikes decorated their peaks. Then Lenny spotted something – a gate, appearing badly damaged. It had been busted apart by some kind of army jeep. Whoever had tried to break in hadn’t made it very far – there were pikes still sticking out from the windshield.
“This way!” One of the colony members with a thick, low voice shouted at him.
“You might not be afraid of us,” Sugar said to Lenny. He stopped at the doorway, flashed a devilish smirk, then yanked the fat spiraling door handle to the large door of the cathedral and directed Lenny to enter.
The rest of the colony laughed.
“I ain’t afraid of your fucking mom,” Lenny said.
A set of hands shoved Lenny from behind, and he fell onto his hands and knees inside the building. The door shut behind him, and he was filled with cold dread.
The pews were of old wood, vacant of any church parishioners. The statues inside were nothing like the Catholic saints he had seen growing up – these were of dragons flying, wolves eating, and at the front one giant black leopard, in the pouncing position.
“Hello,” said Lenny, surveying the empty building as his voice echoed through the chambers. His foot struck something – a spotted dog, with a knife in its head. Blood pooled around it.
The sound of glass shattering brought Lenny to jump. It had come from up ahead.
Lenny knelt down, rubbed the bloody dog behind its ear, then tugged the knife out from its skull. He stuffed the blade into the waste of his jeans, then adjusted his ragged shirt to hide the handle.
“Lenny,” said the voice ahead. It was a sort of whispered moan. The type of voice you’d expect to hear from a dying creature. “Bow down to me.”
“Bow down to me!”
The smoke from the candles inside swirled together, materialized into a sort of foggy witch, then sucked the knife out from Lenny’s waistband and plunged it straight through his foot, nailing him where he stood.
“Arrgh!” grunted Lenny. He gripped the knife but a sort of magnetic energy kept him from withdrawing it. The black smoke dispersed into a cloud of locust, swarming the inside of the church. Lenny slapped as they attacked at his face, and when he opened his mouth two crammed their way into his throat. Lenny coughed them out.
The locust dissolved into dust, floating like a dark cloud throughout the empty church.
“You’ve caused me great distress.”
Lenny shook his head, and returned his focus to the knife. He couldn’t get it to budge as his own blood puddled around his foot.
“You entered and were never invited. You destroyed my gate, and have brought with you a curse upon my sons. You will die for this, Lenny.”
- Return for Part II tomorrow
- Thomas M. Watt
*This was originally posted over a year ago. I will have a brand new sketch posted tomorrow at 7:00 AM PST tomorrow. See you then!
STORYTELLING ESSENTIALS: DEEP THIRD PERSON PERSPECTIVE
So you’ve decided to write fiction, but have no idea what perspective to use. You love the way “Hunger Games” reads in first person, and wish to emulate it, but are uncertain how to describe situations and events that might be beyond your main characters current level of intellect. You decide to move to third person, but a short ways in realize that your story lacks emotion – and every time you try to broadcast the feelings of your protagonist, they come directly out-the-mouth through dialogue. Not very effective, seeing as how everyday people don’t commonly say, “I’m really scared right now.” And if they did, they’d be a pretty wimpy hero (Sorry, just saying).
I prefer deep 3rd person perspective. It’s sort of a hybrid of 1st and 3rd person that has become increasingly common in recent years. Here’s what it looks like –
* * *
George walked over to the wobbly wooden table, sat down, then stared at his now-cold cup of coffee. Since he’d first set that mug down, so much had changed…
George took a sip. He needed to think. He needed to be awake, no matter how much he needed to sleep. George groaned, ran his fingers through his oily, slick-backed hair, then crossed his arms and hunched over the table top. What could he do? Where should he start?
He winced his eyes closed, then gulped. The fact that he’d lost had yet to sink in. It was a terrible thought, but the fact that her murderer was still out there gave him something to keep his mind off her gruesome death. The way she looked, half naked, burn marks everywhere, and that thing she had on her face. What was that? Was it even human??
George shuddered then smeared his face. He took another big gulp of coffee, then smeared the brown from his sun-worn lips. He stood up so fast he knocked the mug down to the floor, bringing it to shatter.
He caught himself just short of swearing, then grabbed the chair backing with the tightly closed fold of his hand.
“Barbara,” He said with his eyes closed, then sniffed. “Who did it. For the love of God, show me something. Tell me who murdered you.”
After a short wait in dead silence, George let out a muffled whine, then scrunched his eyelids together.
George’s eyes shot open. He slowly raised his gaze, and looked in the direction of the ominous sound. It had come from just above the mantle piece, right where he kept the picture from the fishing contest. The one Barbara always begged him to take down.
George remembered that picture fondly, almost able to smile even now from it. He’d caught the biggest fish in the water that day, won the contest and everything. He never understood why Barbara refused to smile when their photo was taken. He never understood why she always hated that photograph.
The creak sounded again. Same spot.
“Barbara?” Said George. The grin left him. He walked with a kind of slanted focus, keeping half-an eye on the picture. As he crept closet to it he felt his heart begin to beat a little faster.
“Are you… trying to tell me something?”
A thump. The sounds were coming from straight above, up in the attic. George didn’t think much of it – He was too rusty to even consider climbing the ladder to check it out.
George stopped by the picture. He placed his hand over the corner of the frame.
“Oh my God.”
He fell back a step, tripped, then crashed onto the short living room desk. He shut his eyes and pressed his hand to his heart. That man. That man in the picture Barbara had always asked him about. Jim was his name.
George gulped. A quick race of noises came from the attic – like footsteps.
After George won the fishing contest that day, he’d never seen Jim again – until this day. At the crime scene. Why the hell was Jim there, anyway?
George’s eyes flew open. He remembered something else – Jim asked where he was living at nowadays. And George had given him his exact address.
There was another thump from above. George had to get up, but he needed Barbara to help him…
* * *
Okay, so a lot of deep third person perspective in there, but you know what other story telling element was frequently employed? If you tuned in to my post a few days ago, you may have guessed it already – suspense. Once again, suspense is information withheld. Every time you found yourself asking, “Who? What? Why?” That was thanks to suspense, and is an effective tool to keep your readers reading. If you want to be a diligent student of the craft, you’d be wise to find and circle those sentences on your own, that practice employing them in your own scenes. When writing suspense, the questions are more important than the answers. In other words, your mind doesn’t compel you to keep reading because of how awesome the thing on Barbara’s dead face was – it compels you to keep reading because you don’t know what it was, but want to.
Deep third person perspective is merely a blending of plain, straight-forward depiction of events, persons, and things, with the inner thoughts and feelings of the protagonist. To better display the difference in perspectives, let me show you how the opening to this scene would have looked had I written it in third person limited:
George sat down at the wobbly talbe. He rested his hands on it, then let out a short winded breath. He balled his hand into a fist, then uttered a soft moan.
“Barbara… I can’t believe I’ve lost you.”
There was a creak. George raised his eyes to check it out.
The reason you now feel alienated from George, rather than involved with him, is because every description is entirely physical. The voice is that of the author, rather than George’s own, and the scene is akin to what you would see if observing, rather than partaking in. Here is how it may have read in first person:
I sat down in the chair and looked at my cup of coffee. It was cold by now. I couldn’t believe all the events that had transpired since the time I’d first brewed that cup. I couldn’t believe I’d lost Barbara. I couldn’t believe how she’d been killed; the way her body looked.
One of the drawbacks of first person is you must remain in character at all times. Your descriptions, your insights, even your suspense – everything is coming straight from the mind of your protagonist. She is the writer, not you.
Deep third person perspective may sound confusing, but after some practice you’ll get the hang of it. Of course, deep third person is my preference, and every author is different. Some even prefer second person:
You see George sit in the chair. You can tell he’s nervous by the way he stares at his coffee. You watch his hands tremble.
Blows, doesn’t it? Yeah, don’t ever write in second person.
Hope this helps!
– Thomas M. Watt
– Script Analyst for SpecScout.com
– Author of A New Kingdom
It’s the last person I ever want to see – Ashley Dupont. My first real girlfriend. We dated through high school and the first two years in college, up until I got with Loretta. She’s also Loretta’s ex-best friend. And that’s a capital ‘X’.
“Are you… carjacking me?” she says in her typical high-pitched voice.
My gun hand won’t keep steady.
She blinks, then holds her pink nails out like an invisible plate rests on the top of her hand. “Like, for real?”
My blood boils. My adrenaline rushes. A realization has dawned on me – If I leave Ashley behind, she’ll be waiting to tell the authorities who I am and what I look like, not to mention the exact license plate number of her red mustang. I have to kidnap her. I aim at the diamond in her ear.
“This is a jay-kay, right?” She looks around. “Some new reality show or something? Carjack your ex?”
The gun fires. We both jump. I accidently shot a bullet through her blonde hair and into her headrest.
“Jesus fucking Christ!” Ashley scurries over to the passenger seat, then fastens herself in.
“Holy fuck, what is wrong with you! Don’t kill me!”
“We were together for like, 6 years! What the fuck Phil!”
My arm is locked in the air, my eyes can’t stop blinking. I’m in disbelief – nearly killed my ex-girlfriend.
“You want the car? Me? What is it?!”
I shake my head, then cough and lower into the vehicle. My knees jam into the steering wheel, but I find the lever and scoot the seat back. I start the mustang, turn it around, then head for the Sheraton Inn. I let out a breath. Holy shit, I can’t believe I just did that.
“Where’s your phone?” I say.
“What’s going on? Are you gonna kill me?”
“Just give me the phone.”
“Did I do something? Why me?”
“The phone, Ashley.”
“Phil! You’re a criminal now? Why? What happened-”
“The phone goddammit!”
“It’s at home… Don’t kill me.”
I take a good look at her. She’s wearing a black mini skirt. Her legs are clamped together. “Take your phone out from under your skirt.”
“I told you, I left it at home.”
“I carjacked you. I’m not afraid to wrestle your legs apart.”
I can’t stop thinking about how close I came to cracking her skull open with a bullet. This sucks; every part of this sucks. I decide to give up on the phone thing. I’m a married man; the thought of touching Ashley inappropriately sickens me. Because I’m a married man and my wife is missing, not because I’m not attracted to her. Ashley is every man’s dream – she’s even better looking since I left her, in a materialistic sense. Her breasts perk up like they’re resting on an invisible shelf, and they’re twice as plump as they used to be. Plus now she’s got these big fisheyes like the Kardashians after applying ‘make-up contour techniques’. Ashley got work done, and the doctors knew what they were doing.
I hate every part of this. I hate that Loretta and Avery are in danger, and I hate that I’m on my way to a hotel where I’m supposed to kill whoever is in room 203. I don’t even know what I’m going to do when I get there.
- Thomas M. Watt
My left hand chokes the steering wheel while my right sticks to my phone. I flip it open, push ‘send’ for Loretta, then wait. Voicemail. I ring again. I speed along the roadway. I’m not far from home, and I’ll see that white van coming a mile away.
“God, protect my family. God almighty, for the love of God protect my family.”
I don’t breathe. I’m locked on the road. I enter my neighborhood doing 50 plus. When I see him, it’s too late. Charlie – wearing the red-shirt, playing with chalk.
Now he’s drawing in middle of my street.
I press the brake pedal down, but I’m way too late. I rip back the parking brake – fumes from burnt rubber swarm my pick-up. I’ve veered right, straight for my neighbor’s oak tree. Charlie flees blind – and heads the same direction.
I punch my horn and hold it down.
He watches me barrel toward him like a dumbfounded deer.
Airbag deploys. Everything’s hazy. Blood and glass are everywhere.
Oak tree splits the front end of my truck. I wobble outside, then search my surroundings.
“Charlie? Charlie, are you okay?”
I’m dizzy; my brain is still bouncing. I don’t see his body anywhere. Then I hear crying. I turn to see –
“Oh my God.”
Hand to my chest. The kid dove into some bushes. If it weren’t for the tree, my Dodge pick-up would have obliterated him. He’s got a few twigs and thorns in his arms, but that’s it.
Charlie screams and goes running inside. I don’t blame him.
Tires screech. I turn around – the white van. It just turned onto my street. I see one roided-out driver, but his comrade from the passenger seat is gone.
“Loretta!” I scream. I pump my arms and race home. “Loretta!”
I reach my driveway. The van skids behind me and stops with a loud ‘bang’ against my garage door. I fly up the front porch and turn the door handle.
Shotgun clicks from the monster holding it the second I shove the door open. He smiles, then stabs my neck with a syringe. A shooting pain enters my neck as I crumble to the floor. The injection comes from the man I saw in the passenger seat of the van – one with the cleft lip. He’s been standing here, waiting for me.
I’m too late.
I slip out of consciousness.
- Thomas M. Watt