Eroica wandered the night in search of something, though she couldn’t say what it was she searched for, only that she searched endlessly and perhaps aimlessly. She wondered if she would even recognise it when she found it, given that she didn’t know what it was. Perhaps she’d find it but just walk right by, wandering and wondering forever. Or she might stumble over it, and turn back to pick it up, and toss it aside like some vague thought she couldn’t quite see the use of, but which still nagged at the back of her brain like a precious, long-lost twin. Long ago, Eroica had searched long for her own long-lost twin, but he was lost so long ago that she’d long since given up hope of ever finding him. So she wandered, and wondered, and never drew that connection.
About this piece
My goal here was to repeat a noun, verb or adjective at least three times. But repetition is one of my favourite techniques, so I took the chance to go over the top…and down the other side, and then a bit further still.
Heather stopped dead in the doorway, mouth agape, transfixed. A man hovered by the bed. She watched in silence as he bent down over its occupant—her son, Aidan. Her boy was only five years old, sweet, innocent. Inwardly, she prayed for his safety; outwardly, she did nothing.
The man bent still closer and Aidan stirred as if touched by the man’s rank breath. Heather choked on its death and decay from a distance. The man stretched out one gnarled finger and laid it gently on Aidan’s cheek. Aidan’s eyes shot open, desperately searching the darkness. He opened his mouth to cry out but that gnarled finger was ready. It pressed down hard on Aidan’s lips, cutting off his cry. Only a short, sharp bark escaped, masking his mother’s gasp.
Terrified, Heather sprung into action, wailing as she rocketed across the room.
About this piece
In this last version of the intruder series, I sought to find a middle ground between Intruder and Intruder, revisited. It's hard to say how much this version was affected by those exercises—would it have been the same if I'd just written it with normal lenth sentences from the start?
Heather stopped dead in the doorway, mouth agape, transfixed, watching in silence as the man hovered by the bed and then bent down over its occupant—her son, Aidan, five years old, sweet, innocent; inwardly, she prayed for his safety but outwardly she remained frozen; she did nothing when the man bent still closer to Aidan, interrupting the boy’s sleep with a rank breath of death and decay that Heather choked on from a distance; she did nothing when the man stretched out one gnarled finger and laid it gently on Aidan’s cheek, nor when Aidan’s eyes shot open and desperately searched for her in the darkness, nor when Aidan’s mouth shot open to cry out; when that gnarled finger, readied and waiting, pressed down hard on Aidan’s lips to cut off his cry, the short, sharp bark that escaped was enough to mask his mother’s gasp; only then did Heather spring into action, wailing as she rocketed across the room.
About this piece
My goal here was to rewrite the short sentence narrative in Intruder as a single long sentence, in the style of Escape or Sure. I wanted to keep the suspense, and I think I succeeded, but the overall effect is quite different. I don't know if I like it.
He ran with burning chest and popping eyes, gasping for air as his heels churned up the grass and flicked it up high behind him like a cloud of exhaust, and when he came to a small fork in the road he chose the road less taken, the road that was not a road, not a track and barely even a trail, more of a footpad or maybe a goat track, and it wound gently through pine trees, the needles soft beneath his feet, cushioning his heels from the hard-packed dirt beneath, dirt like concrete, like the block they wanted to tie around those heels when they threw him into the river for what he had done to the girl, only he hadn’t done it, of course—that nastiness had been the man’s doing, and the man was long gone, and now it was just the boy who ran—but there would be no convincing the council that it was so; he ran, tripping over rocks and tree roots and sliding out on corners but never once slowing, never once looking back over his shoulder in case they were closing in on him, and he promised himself he would run until he felt a dog’s jaws close around his ankle, and when they felled him he would crawl on, and when they ripped him apart he would know he had escaped the council’s judgement, even if he had not escaped death.
About this piece
This was another attempt at a single sentence narrative, which I first tried in Sure. In this case, I tried a very different subject matter with less romance and more energy. I think it would work as a part of something bigger, but it would almost certainly be an exhausting something.