Cliffhanger

Oct 25, 2010

So, I know I said I don't usually do blogfests...but a cliffhanger fest was too irresistible to pass up! Check out the other entries here, and here is the 500-words-or-less cliffhanger for Devolutionaries, chapter 1!

Grandad closed his eyes a minute, like he was listening for something. “They’ve come for me.”

“Who?” My throat tightened in panic, and my voice came out in a quiet screech. I already knew who. “What are we going to do?”

“Listen. They’re not going to kill me, okay?”

But there wasn’t another option. Unless… “They’re going to Disappear you? How do you know that?”

“I just know.”

What was that supposed to mean? Nobody knew exactly why the Government Disappeared anybody, just that somebody would suddenly be gone. None of their things missing, no hint about what had happened. No sign of a struggle.

“How can you—“

“Doesn’t matter,” Grandad said. “You just have to know they’re going to keep me alive. And you have to stay that way if you want to help. Now, I want you to stay here, behind the door. There’s only one of them. He’ll come for me, and when he does, run. Somewhere with lots of people. Go to the arcade. Then find Jay.”

I glared at him. “I’m not taking off on you like Wes. If there’s only one, I can attack him when he goes for you.”

“No!” His voice was sharp. “There’s only one because they only need one. He’ll kill you if you try that. You run. Find Jay.”

Suddenly, he stood up straighter. Then he strode across the room and stood over the boiling pot. “Do it, kiddo.”

He smiled at me, and I felt a sharp pain in my throat.

The door flew open and I threw my hand up to keep it from hitting my nose. Footsteps, then a clanging noise, a splash, a stranger’s yell. In my panic, a hysterical giggle rose up. There’d be signs of struggle after they Disappeared Grandad. Something crashed, and wood splintered. A sharp pfft echoed through the room, followed by a dull thump.

The room went silent, raising the hairs on my arm. Had he shot Grandad after all? I risked a peek around the door. The agent was kneeling next to Grandad, pulling the needle of a tranq bullet from a blue-stained spot on Grandad’s shoulder. He was alive. I started breathing again.

The agent’s back was still to me. It was now or never. I swung the door forward and dashed around it. My heart didn’t seem to beat to a normal rhythm, and I ran wildly through the night. I tripped over pavement cracks, darted into side streets, and skirted the corners where the military police clutched their guns. My feet pounded forward, and I grabbed at the pain growing in my side.

I stopped a few blocks from the arcade. Sucking in big gulps of air, I sank to the ground. I dropped my head between my knees. My mind buzzed, and thoughts didn’t stay long enough to register. Only two things made sense, and they pounded in my head with every gasping breath. Grandad. Disappeared.

Some people said Disappeared was worse than dead.

31 comments:

Cheree said...

This was a good read. Your dialogue flowed naturally and you hooked my attention so I want to find out what happens next.

Michelle said...

Sweet! I could really see the action. One thing to maybe add? I think my Grandpa would have hugged me tight before standing up straighter. All in all a desparate cliff-hanger leaving me with the question of where do the disappeared go and what happens to them?

Jamie said...

Wow! This was so good I felt like I was reading from a published book! Great ending...made me want more, which is the point, right? Excellent job!

Meredith said...

Oooh, what a great world you've created! I want to know more about this whole disappearing thing. And I love the voice! Awesome, awesome job.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

A great scene. It calls for some payback. But how? The government is so big.

You captured the reader in your world. Bravo.

Colene Murphy said...

Oh! So gripping! Loved this, need more please! Great job

David P. King said...

Wow. Brilliant! You've got suspense nailed. This would definitely keep me reading. Great work, Shallee!

MT said...

I don't usually do blogfests either, but it looks like you've had a lot of fun with this one. Way to go!

Bree said...

Great entry! I agree with another commenter, I felt like I was reading a published book. I definitely want more!

Good luck!

Marieke said...

Wow, this was great! Loved reading it! :D

Justin W. Parente said...

Hello Shallee,

This piece really captured me. The term "Disappeared" makes me think of V for Vendetta's black bag prisoners. I really loved it though. I can see the world being something rather difficult for this character, whoever she is. Her narrative voice was great, too. I am left wondering her age.

I'll be following AND subbing so I can return back in the future. Great page layout, too!

Best,

J.W. Parente
In My Write Mind

Brenda Drake said...

Thanks for participating! We've judged your entry. o/\o *high five*

Tina Lynn said...

Nicely done! You've established dystopian and I know something is up. And you left me hanging from a cliff...thanks.

Mary Jo said...

What an intense scene. Tightly written, quick paced. Very intriqued to hear more about this world

Nikki said...

Nice scene. Lots of energy and tension.

Gale Martin said...

Strong scene. Very good read. You've made us care about characters we barely know--that's effective storytelling. Good luck!

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Wow. Breat premise. I'm totally intrigued. Thanks for sharing.

erica and christy said...

Glad you chose to participate! The last line will stay with me. Hope to read more some day! christy

Kristina Fugate said...

I wanna read the rest of this story so bad! I'm dying to know more about this whole 'Disappeared' thing. Great job!

Thanks for sharing :)

JEFritz said...

I really enjoyed reading this. I have to say, I don't really like the term Disappeared. I don't think it's strong enough to convey something worse than dead. But I really loved this. It was fun to read, had good details and flowed perfectly. Great job.

Dawn Embers said...

This has an interesting concept. I like the dynamic between the characters and the action that ensues when the one is able to run away. Disappeared is a term that's a bit rough but you'll figure things out. I do really like the idea behind it.

L'Aussie said...

This was a brilliant piece Shallee. The prose flowed and was very readable. Interesting plotline and killer ending..:)

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

This was very good. Nicely written and easy to read.

Rachael Harrie said...

I really loved your first page from Elle's blogfest, and so glad I could read more. You're writing is so polished, and I love your style. Well done :)

Rach

Francine said...

Hi,

Slick prose and fast-paced imagery evocked from this snippet. Great stuff and love the disappeared is considered worse case scenario! ;)

best
F

Jessie said...

very nice cliffhanger! you had nice, tight writing that pulled me through a fast-paced scene.

J.C. Martin said...

You really sucked me in with the promise of some big govenrment conspiracy. And Disappearing is a cool term!

Jodi Henry said...

Great voice, tension and pacing. Loved the concept that being Disappeared is worse than being dead.

Good cliffhanger too.

I'm following now.

J

gideon 86 said...

Great last line. Suspenseful and intriguing.

Carol Kilgore said...

Oooh, cool. I'd read more :)

DLCurran said...

Oh, oh, oh... I want more. Now. Great cliffhanger! :)

 
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