Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Beginning 641

Mother didn’t struggle much when I killed her. The softness of the pillow fluffed away any of those little noises people make when you smother them, and the frailness of her body under mine meant she had little strength for movement by the time I did her this favour. And it was definitely a favour. I think I heard an echo of a whimper in my mind as I softly wrapped the feather-filled cotton over her face. I chose the finest down pillow for her. It was the least I could do. Of course that meant I had to buy it and bring it myself as she would never spend that amount of money on something as insignificant as a pillow. Just another example of how I went out of my way for her, even at the end, just as I had all through her life. Well, okay – not ALL her life, as for most of it I wasn’t even there. But if you are going to be pedantic we will never get through this tale...

When she finally stopped twitching, and I smelt that her body had gone through its final releases, I took the pillow off her face and, before her skin cooled, rearranged her face into the smile I knew and loved. I wanted to do more, I wanted her to be clean and comfortable when the others arrived, I knew she would hate being seen as she was. But to do more would raise questions I was not, at that age, ready to answer. And so I did what I could: I smoothed her smile, found her foundation so her face at least would look radiant and wonderful, and then I went downstairs, made my lunch, and went to school.

In our classroom Johnny pulled me aside and asked me: "How'd it go?"

I told him.

"You idiot," he whispered, "she canceled the matricide assignment 'cause Davey doesn't have one. We were just supposed to research the five times people are most vulnerable to attack."

"Um, when sleeping, when eating, in the shower--" I tried to think of other plausible answers. The bell rang.

"Okay, heads on desks, children," Mrs. Cavanaugh said. "It's nappy time."


Opening: C.J. Sirett.....Continuation: Faceless Minion

13 comments:

150 said...

One of the reasons not to address the audience: You say, "But if you are going to be pedantic we will never get through this tale..." and I think, "If you are going to be wordy we will never get through this tale," and quit.

Evil Editor said...

* * *

I put the pillow on my desk, sat back, and waited. No one was going to beat me at Show and Tell this time.

--anon.



I told all my friends before class, but I still couldn't wait until the teacher called on me.

"How did your project go, class?" Teacher always had a special smile for us. She said we were her favorite preschoolers in the whole time she had taught. "Jeffrey, what did you use?"

I stood up and proudly announced my deft use of a pillow.

"Very creative, Jeffrey. What about you, Sue?"

Sue stood and looked down at her desk. "I forgot to do my homework."

"You get ten percent off every day it's late. Mike, what about you?"

Mike stood and gloated. "Ice pick."

Showoff.

--*Rachel*


I took my usual place, in the second row, behind Mindy Wecksler who never talked to me, and put my books in front of me. I sat up straight, looked straight at the teacher, and prepared to learn something new.

"Good Morning, Class," Miss Somers said. "I hope you all rememembered to get your report cards signed -- I don't want to have to send anyone to Pricipal Peters' office..."

Shit.

--anon.

Dave F. said...

I think you can get the same effect in fewer words. I'm backing off my usual cut by half to a generous cut by 40% ;)

Twice you set up the murder -- Once in the first sentence (mother didn't struggle) and again in the third sentence (echo of a whimper).

You have two age references. The first about the "questions" ruins the impact of the second about "going to school."

I also don't think you need as much of that internal dialog as you have. That this person is a cold and emotionless killer is established in the act of the murder. We don't need all that internal stuff. "I smothered my mother with a pillow" is horrific enough to give the reader the idea.

I took your words and rearranged them. So this reads a little rough but it gets the point across. The bracketed words are my words.

I chose the finest down pillow for Mother. I had to buy it and bring it, as she would never spend that amount of money on something as insignificant as a pillow. She didn’t struggle as I wrapped the feather-filled cotton over her face. The softness fluffed away those little noises people make when you smother them, and the frailness of her body under mine meant she had little strength [to resist].

When she stopped twitching, and I smelt that her body had gone through its final releases, I took the pillow off her face and rearranged her [still warm] face into the smile I knew and loved. I wanted to do more. I wanted her to be clean and comfortable when the others arrived. I did what I could: I found her foundation so her face at least would look radiant and wonderful. To do more would raise questions. I went downstairs, made my lunch, and went to school.

Xiexie said...

I disagree, 150. I quite like that the fourth wall is broken.

_*Rachel*_ said...

The pedantic sentence needs to go.

I'm assuming the MC is young because of the school bit. Wouldn't a mom generally be strong enough to save herself? If your story doesn't explain this a bit more, you've got a problem. Ninja-in-training going for mom, creepy but much more plausible than a sweet little kindergardener doing it.

Does your mom know you're writing this? Or....

Chris Eldin said...

That is one seriously funny continuation!

Evil Editor said...

The kindergartner is in the continuation. In the opening, the narrator is clearly older. And the mother has a frail body. As we may have a high school football player and a woman dying of cancer, it's plausible.

Anonymous said...

hey guys -- CJ here -- GREAT continuation on the main page -- and some good ones here too LOL

and some useful comments here too which help me define my story...

love hte show and tell one LOL

and if you thought the killer was cold and emotionless, then I need to write better or the whole book won't work!!!

lovely feedback thanks for taking the time!!

CJ
(publishing anonymously as for some weird probably conspiracy based reason google is once again refusing to recognise my id...)

Faceless Minion said...

I didn't think the killer was cold or emotionless, more along the lines of someone whose moral values and emotional reactions are out of sync with mainstream society. There's probably a technical term for that.

Phoenix said...

I like this and with a little tightening I'd like it even more. I think you're solid in your details, and I think taking your time to show us the character taking his/her time in the killing is character building. Some of us are a little more patient about those things than others are. ;o)

Don't lose the first line whatever you do. Great hook.

Here's where I would edit (and you'll note some of my cuts are because of repeated words):

...she had little strength for movement by the time I did her this last, simple favour. I heard an echo of a whimper as I gently wrapped the feather-filled cotton over her face. I had chosen the finest down pillow. It meant, of course, I had to buy it and bring it myself as she would never splurge that amount of money on something as common as a pillow. Yet another example of how I went out of my way for her, even at the end.

When she finally stopped twitching, and I smelt that her body had gone through its final releases, I took the pillow away and, before her skin cooled, rearranged her face into the smile I knew and loved. I wanted to do more -- I wanted her to be clean and comfortable when the others arrived. I knew she would hate being seen as she was, but to do more would raise questions I was not ready to answer. So I did what I could: I smoothed her smile and found her foundation so her face would look radiant and wonderful. Then I went downstairs, made my lunch, and went to school.

Adam Heine said...

I liked this. The character, who is obviously crazy and psychotic, comes through clearly and, though not sympathetic, is understandable and realistic. I'd read on.

writtenwyrdd said...

This is a bit too wordy for me, but overall I liked it well enough. I would have read on a bit to see if I wanted to read the rest of the story.

As a side note, I didn't like the mention of final releases, not because I'm all that sensitive to bodily functions, but because it distracted me. I had to ponder how often people's bowels release immediately upon death, and I'm pretty sure they don't always do so, and it bothered me. For what it's worth.

Jamie said...

There are two kinds of readers -- those who like narrators addressing the audience and those who don't. I like it (depending on the situation) and have seen it done in published books. (And not just the Regency "dear reader" sort, either.)

I suppose what really matters is how agents and publishers feel about it. :-)