So, I keep promising myself that I’m going to blog once a week, and I keep not doing it. There are a variety of reasons for this. First off, I’m in the middle of a project with a rapidly approaching deadline. Second, my adult ADD prevents me from concentrating the way I need to–SQUIRREL! Mostly, though, it’s just the fact that I’m lazy. It’s easier to read the thoughts of others than articulate my own. I hate to admit that, but its true. I’m a loser. For the most part, though, I’m okay with it.
Anywho, in an effort to pretend I am WAY more productive than I am, I decided to post the intro I wrote years ago to a horror novel that never went anywhere. I saw this on another blog, and enjoyed the results very much. The deal is: read below, think about it, and post the next sentence, paragraph, whatever. If I get a decent response, I’ll update and find a way to categorize this and keep it going. If not…at least I blogged today!
She hated doing the dishes. She hated it more than homework, more than feeding the dogs, more than going to the dentist. At least the dentist gave you something to numb the pain. Nevertheless, it was her job, had been since she was ten years old. Elizabeth Buford was in charge of dishes.
Her parents liked to tell her that getting older meant more responsibility. If she wanted to have privileges, she had to show that she was mature enough to handle them. Elizabeth did not see exactly how scrubbing pots and pans related to borrowing the car, but she was not going to complain so long as the end result was what she wanted.
With significant disgust, she attacked the grime and grease on plate number six with a grimace. It would be worth it, she tried to tell herself, tomorrow, when she took the new car out for a test drive and showed it off to all her friends. She was especially looking forward to driving as slowly as she could past Ted Miller’s house.
Ted was the fullback for their high school football team. He was tall, dark, and handsome, with pearly white teeth and a smile that made her stomach do funny little flips. Every night, about this time, Ted was playing catch with his younger brother on the lawn in front of his house. Elizabeth knew this because she had more than once hid in the bushes across the street and watched him.
A dreamy smile curved her lips, and her eyes wandered from the sink of hot, soapy dishes to imagine the look on his face when she drove by. She thought maybe she would offer him a ride to school the next day. Ted didn’t have his own car yet, and Elizabeth fully intended to let him think her mother’s jazzy new convertible was hers.
He would say yes, of course. Elizabeth’s fantasies never let reality intrude. In her dreams, she wasn’t only five foot one, with shiny metal braces, and about ten pounds too many on her slight frame. Elizabeth was a beauty; that’s how she saw herself, how she expected others to see her.
It was almost eight o’clock in the evening that night, and despite having lingered in the kitchen for more than an hour, the dishes remained virtually untouched. Elizabeth was once again in her own little world, one that brought her pleasure, and a certain happiness her real life could not provide.
She stood in front of the kitchen window, seeing not the faded blue curtains, but the smile on Ted’s face when she drove past. She didn’t hear the twig break just outside the back door, for she was hearing Ted’s genuine laughter after she told him just the right joke. That image was the last to flitter through her mind before the window exploded with deafening force, and the bullet responsible ended her young life.
Two blocks away, Eleanor Jordan turned up her television. Damn car backfiring, she thought. People had no common courtesy these days. When she and her husband moved to Riley fifteen years ago, the neighborhood had been filled with couples just her age. Men and women in their late forties finally done with the task of raising their children, ready for the peace and quiet of middle age life.
The area had changed, though, in recent years. Her neighbors were packing up and moving, leaving their homes to thirty something parents with loud cars, obnoxious children, and a lack of respect for the once neat and tidy row of homes on Maple Drive.
Harry had been talking recently of relocating, but Eleanor wouldn’t hear of it. This was her home. No one was going to force her out of it. It just wasn’t right that a woman her age should have to abandon all the memories her lovely two story brick house contained. She was staying right where she was.
The sounds of a siren not far away filled the room, and her eyes hardened. Was it too much to ask for a little peace and quiet? Eleanor rose, bracing herself for the pain arthritis inflicted in her joints. She went towards the window, intent on shutting every last one. Much as she liked the fresh air blowing against her curtains, she would not tolerate the noise.
Pushing firmly, Eleanor closed the first window with a bang and froze. Standing in front of her on the other side of the glass, his form partially shadowed, his face alight with the illumination of a street lamp, was a man.
He stood utterly still, watching her. His face was youthful, his eyes dark and small. Eleanor did not recognize his features, though some distant memory hinted toward recognition. She watched in utter horror as his arm slowly lifted and, without blinking, he pointed a gun directly at her.
“No,” she whispered.
The man’s lips curved in what could have been a smile, and he fired the bullet through the glass, into her forehead.
Sally Fitzgerald didn’t hear the explosion, though she was only three houses down from Mrs. Jordan at the time. Sally wasn’t hearing anything, except the sound of her husband’s almost constant bitching.
“Didn’t I tell you to clean out these drawers yesterday?”
Sally said nothing to this. She was sitting silently on the edge of their bed, absently plucking lint from the sleeve of her sweater, while she waited for the tantrum to blow over.
That’s what she thought of his temper. Tantrums, no better than those of their two year old son, Alex, who—accustomed to the bickering—was sleeping soundly in the next room. Sally envied him that. What she wouldn’t give for the luxury of sleeping through this.
Her husband had been rummaging through the dresser drawers for ten minutes now, in search of his black tie. If she wasn’t such a pig, he liked to tell her, things would be exactly where he left them.
If he wasn’t such a cheapskate, he would have more than one tie, she wanted to fire back. Yet she said nothing, even when he grabbed her by the arm and shoved her at the chest of drawers. “Find it, damn you!”
She moved slowly, knowing that would irritate him, and pawed through each one in turn. Her husband, still not content with her efforts, continued to scream his dissatisfaction loud enough for everyone on the block to hear.
“You’re a slob, you know that? No better than a damned pig!” He kicked a half full laundry basket to the other side of the bedroom. “I don’t know why I put up with you.”
Because no one else in their right mind would put up with you, she thought. Finding the tie, she turned around to give it to him. As he extended his hand, no more satisfied with her accomplishment than he’d been by her failure, a shot rang out. Both of them turned toward the window.
The glass lie on the floor, in a thousand shards scattered around them. Her husband stepped closer, trying to see outside, past the darkness. “Turn off the light, Sally,” he whispered.
She moved to obey quickly. The moment her finger touched the switch, however, another bullet cut through the silence. Sally spun around just in time to see her husband fall limply to the floor.