More Rough Work


More Rough Work

by Adam Huddleston

Here is the next scene from last week’s submission.

Several rats scampered in front of Jack’s cart as he wheeled it behind the tiny shack.  Before he had even rounded the corner, a rough voice growled at him from inside.

“You better have had a good day, Boy, or this whip is gonna drink tonight!”

The hairs on the back of the young man’s neck stood out and he flinched.  He had suffered Carson’s beatings for several years, and unless he was blessed with a miracle from the royal court, he would continue to; possibly until his miserable life ended and a new slave took his place.

“The day was profitable, sir.  I nearly sold out of the jelly-fruits.  The middle of the day was too hot to-”

“Shut your mouth, whelp! I took a trip into town today to witness your fine vending skills.  All I saw you doing was eyeing the little tart across from you!”

Jack’s face reddened and he took a half-step towards his master.

“Oh?  So the little spit wants to fight me?  You forget your place, but that’ll soon be remedied.”

Carson grabbed a thick, leather whip from a hook on the wall and a fireplace poker that had been resting in the hut’s modest hearth.  He took a threating step toward his slave and held the weapons up.  Jack could see the poker’s red-hot tip reflected in Carson’s eyes.

“Which shall it be?  Leather or fire?”

Jack lowered his head and backed up until he bumped up against the door.

“My…apologies, sir.  I meant no offense.  I know my place, I do.”

Carson lowered the items for a brief moment, then rushed forward with them raised.  Jack spun and ducked, at the same moment grasping the doorknob and twisting it fervently.  Carson slammed into him and the pair went sprawling out onto the front yard.

The poker landed in a dry patch of grass and in an instant, the lawn was ablaze.  Carson jumped on top of his slave and began choking him with hands that were seemingly too large.  Jack’s eyes bulged from their sockets.  A loud crack came from behind the struggling pair.

“The hut,” Jack gurgled through his ever-tightening throat.

Carson turned his head to see his home going up in flames. He jumped off of his victim and stood, looking in amazement as the shack and all of his belongings were destroyed.

Jack slowly rose to a pair of feet that were beyond wobbly. With his master’s attention turned elsewhere, he took his once chance to escape.  Stumbling off into the darkness, Jack headed for the woods on the other side of the dirt road.  With any luck, he might make it to Mary’s house before collapsing.

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Another Rough Bit of Work


Another Rough Bit of Work

by Adam Huddleston

 

I didn’t have anything prepared to submit this week, so I went with a few paragraphs of a rough draft I’m working on.

Jack sold assorted fruits and vegetables from a little stand on the village square.  Mary sold bread from her own stand across from him.  Although the two had never met (such interactions were strictly forbidden without permission from their parents) he just knew that she was going to be his wife someday.

“We got sweet jelly-fruits here! Crispy, juicy water peas,” he barked to the small, early-morning crowd meandering about the town center.  One older fellow looked his direction, seemed to consider for a moment, and turned away.

“Hot, fresh rolls!  Honey-baked loafs,” Mary suggested to the same group.  Two ladies in the crowd made a bee-line for her stand, reaching into their leather satchels as they walked.

Jack propped his elbows on the hard, splintery wood and watched through half-closed eyes as the love of his life sold her wares and the customers walked away happily munching a couple of glazed pastries.

A little boy, no older than five, tottered up to Jack’s stand and stood there silently.  His eyes widened as he looked over the selection of garden foods.  A grimy little hand slowly reached out for a melon but stopped short when he saw Jack’s eyes watching him.  Jack frowned melodramatically, then tossed the child the piece of fruit he’d been drooling over.  The tot took a large bite of it and ran off at a gallop.

“I saw that,” a voice came to him from across the square.

Jack’s head popped up and he saw Mary grinning at him.  His face turned the shade of the melon he had just donated to the little boy.

“Oh!  Yeah, well, I have plenty of them in stock, so…” he trailed off.

“Those melons are worth five durons a piece.  I can’t imagine your master would be too happy knowing you’re giving away his produce.”

Jack looked at her closely, trying to gauge if she was pulling his leg. Her smile broke into a large guffaw of laughter and he relaxed, laughing back in return.  He reached into his front pocket, pulled out a handful of durons, and dropped them into the clay pot resting on the back corner of his stand.  Then he pressed his index finger to his lips in a hushing gesture.

“Mums the word,” Mary said.

Hours passed.  The sun, which had shown directly into Jack’s eyes that morning, made its slow circuit across the sky and now faced Mary.  Just like their king, even the heavens seemed impartial in their cruelty.

Mary pulled a large umbrella from the darkness under her cart.  Straining under the weight, she gave an awkward attempt at attaching it to the front of the stand.

 

More Cool Websites for Readers/Writers


More Cool Websites for Readers/Writers

by Adam Huddleston

 

This week I wanted to mention a couple of websites that are must-visits for avid readers and writers. The sub-reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompts/is full of interesting story starters.  Some can get a little wacky, but overall it’s not a bad place to look if you just want to knock out a short, fun tale.

Another site that I recently discovered is http://www.gutenberg.org/.  It contains a huge collection of written works that are in the public domain.  The advantage of this is that the books, short stories, etc. are completely free to download and read.  You can browse by title, author, language, or works that are recently posted.  Another plus is that they are available in several formats.

Happy reading and writing!

Rough Work Part III


Rough Work Part III

by Adam Huddleston

 

Here is the last part of the first scene that I began posting two weeks ago.

Lucas tossed the empty bottle into his neighbor’s chair and began searching the house.

“Kimberly! Jax! Junebug!” His heart, which was already hammering in his chest, doubled its pace. Sweat streamed down his face and back.

“Are ya’ll here? Somebody holler something!”

He scanned the two guestrooms and the bathroom connecting them. He checked their game-room and instinctively grabbed a pool cue from the rack on the wall.

A muffled yelp came from the bedroom at the end of the Waldon’s central hallway. Lucas ran through the doorway and listened for the sound again. Another cry came from the closet. He yanked the door open and his mouth dropped open. His family sat huddled in a small circle, their hands bound behind them and mouths gagged.

His wife’s eyes widened and something hard crashed into the back of Lucas’s head, turning everything dark.

Rough Work Part II


Rough Work Part II

by Adam Huddleston

Here is the continuation of last week’s story.

Lucas alternated hammering his fists against the Waldon’s front door and jabbing repeatedly at the bell beside it. A minute later, the door creaked open and Fred Waldon stood in the entrance, his massive frame eclipsing the light coming from his small kitchen.

“Lucas? What’s wrong? It’s nearly eleven o’clock.”

“Have you seen Kim or the kids today? I just got home and the car is in the garage but the house is empty. I can’t get ahold of her on the phone either.”

Fred took the frightened man by the elbow and led him into his home.

“Sit down, son. You want a drink?”

“No. No, I’m fine.”

Waldon grabbed a couple of longneck bottles from his fridge and sat down in the chair opposite the younger man. He twisted the caps off with large, calloused hands, handed one to Lucas and waited for him to speak.

“She didn’t say anything about going anywhere tonight. And the Suburban is in the garage so someone must have picked them up. I mean, the kids have school tomorrow and all, so why would she take them somewhere?”

Fred remained silent, sipping his pilsner. When his visitor had quit speaking for a minute, he cleared his throat.

“Relax, Lucas. Drink your beer and relax. What if I told you that your family is alright? Would that calm you down some?”

“What the hell, Fred? What’s going on? Where are they!” Lucas started to get up, and with a speed belying his size, the older man sprang to his feet and pressed Lucas back into his seat.

“Be still, son. Finish your drink. They’ve been chilling all day.”

Lucas kept a firm gaze on his neighbor and did as he was told. When the only thing left in the bottle was a thin line of foam, he lowered his eyes and began slowly peeling off the label. Feigning what he hoped was calmness, he began making an inventory of his surroundings. If the situation turned south, he wanted to know if he could escape. Regardless, he planned on keeping a firm grip on his empty bottle.

The older man nodded at Lucas’s free hand. “You cut yourself?”

Lucas looked down and reflexively closed his hand into a fist. “No sir. Been painting.”

Fred gave a small grunt and continued drinking.

“Okay, Fred. I gotcha. Everything’s cool. We’re good.”

The older man stood up and leaned over Lucas. “Damn right we’re good.” He reached one grimy hand behind his back and that’s when Lucas made his move.

Holding the glass bottle by its neck, he swung downward as hard as he could in a large arc. Fred’s eyes went wide for a moment, then the bottle connected with the top of his balding scalp and split the skin open. Warm blood splattered Lucas’s upturned face, running into his eyes and mouth.

“Whaaa-,“ Fred moaned. From a holster attached to his belt, he pulled a small pistol. Lucas swung the bottle again, this time cracking his neighbor’s left temple. Fred dropped to the floor, twitched twice, and lay still.

A Bit of Rough Work


A Bit of Rough Work

by Adam Huddleston

 

This week I wanted to share a small portion of a suspense/thriller/drama I had tucked away from awhile back. Enjoy (if you want), or don’t, whatever.

Lucas pulled his car into the garage and killed the engine. His thoughts were on the last email he had received before leaving the office; a not-so-lighthearted scolding regarding sales vs. purchases. He never noticed the light that usually filtered through the bedroom window blinds was absent.

He popped the radio button and slid his thin frame out of the sedan. The door leading from the garage to his family’s laundry room was locked.

Great. I always leave it unlocked for her…

Lucas turned his key, wincing as the tumblers gave a tiny shriek. He rolled his eyes at the new project his wife would be laying on his shoulders that weekend.

He opened the door leading to the kitchen and stopped. No lights were on. The house was almost completely dark. The only light he could see was the digital green glow coming from the clock on the microwave above the stove.

“Babe!” he yelled. “Ya’ll already in bed?”

Nothing.

He flipped the switch on in the kitchen and moved from room to room, turning on lights as he went. His house was empty. No children. No wife.

Lucas thought back to when he pulled into the garage and remembered seeing the family SUV in its usual spot.

Well, where was everybody?

He pulled out his phone and hit his wife’s number under the “Favorites” list. Five rings later, her voicemail informed him that she wasn’t available and to leave his message after the beep.

He sat down on the soft leather sofa in the den and grabbed the remote lying beside him. His palm pressed into something moist and sticky.

“What the-“

He pulled up his right hand to reveal a dark red substance smeared across its surface. He swallowed hard and heard an audible click in his throat. His stomach seemed to twist on itself and he feared he might vomit the fast food burrito he’d scarfed down in the car all over the den’s tan carpet.

Lucas leaped up and took a long look at the remote control that had fallen to the ground. It sat there staring up at him with its numerous eyes. The top was covered in what looked like raspberry jam.

Without another thought, he spun on his heels and ran out the front door. He went straight to the Waldon’s house across the street, absently rubbing his stained hand against his slacks. It never occurred to him that this would be the worst decision of his life.

Anagnorisis


Anagnorisis

by Adam Huddleston

This week I wanted to introduce another literary term: anagnorisis. It is derived from a Greek word meaning “recognition” and refers to the moment in a story when a character (often the protagonist) discovers the underlying truth behind something. It could be the realization of an inner-strength or ability, the true nature of an antagonist, or a deeper understanding of the situation they are in.

Depending on when this change in knowledge takes place, it may lead to a change in the plot of the story. The character alters their course of action based on the new information. So, when writing your story, if is often effective to emphasize this to the reader. Just be cautious that you don’t smack them over the head with it.

Happy writing!

Careers


Careers

by Adam Huddleston

 

I’ve been contributing to this blog on a semi-weekly basis for a few years now and I’m not sure if folks really know what I do for a living.

I’m a writer! (laughs maniacally) Nah, I wish I could do this full time as a career, but alas, I am only a lowly pharmacy manager. I lead a rag-tag, motley crew of some of the best technicians a boss could ask for. We spend the majority of our days trying to figure out what drug what insurance will pay for and what ridiculous code we have to put in the computer to get everything to work out right. The rest of the day is spent trying not to mess up someone’s prescription.

Strangely enough, it is at this hectic job that I get the best writing done. Whether it is the few moments in-between phone calls, or during a slower Saturday shift, I can usually bang out a few hundred words. Who knows, maybe years down the road things will work out where I could actually write professionally. Or, maybe…hold on, I gotta take this call.

Happy writing!

Euphony


Euphony

by Adam Huddleston

 

This week, the literary device I would like to mention is: euphony. It is defined as the use of words or phrases that sound pleasant together. As individuals, our tastes in word choice and what sounds “nice” are obviously varied, but it is possible to piece together phrases that most readers would enjoy.

As you would expect, euphony is most commonly seen in poetry, lyrical works, and literary prose. The website literary-devices.com mentions that the phrase “cellar door” is often credited as the most pleasant-sounding phrase in the English language. I guess it is the combination of phonetic sounds that sets it apart.

Euphony is the direct opposite of cacophony, which is the use of words or sounds in phrases that clash and sound unpleasant.

I hope this device helps you in your work! Happy writing!

Ideas when Travelling


Ideas when Travelling

by Adam Huddleston

 

For the past few months, my family and I have been traversing back and forth to East Texas. All those hours on the road lead to wandering thoughts (many of which are the basis for my writing). I’ve noticed that most of these ideas deal with driving or highways.

For example, one of my works deals with a ghost that haunts the exits on the interstate. Another concerns a rather “enthusiastic” man who cleans up roadkill. Both fit quite well in the horror genre (especially the latter; geesh) and if I ever get them finished I’ll share them on this blog.

Does the location you’re in effect the types of ideas you get? Happy writing!