Tag Archives: Suicide

Friday Fiction – The Unseen

This week’s FF prompt is one of those examples where both the literal and the figurative interpretation seem a bit obvious and in danger of being clichéd. I’m sure some of our party will do each of them justice; I’ve tried to branch out a little bit although the muse didn’t get far today – she’s a bit under the cosh.

Photo courtesy of Stephen Baum.

stephen-baum

 

The Unseen

People hurried past, eyes averted. One girl nearly tripped over her, but noticed enough to catch her step and no more.

She enjoyed being invisible; everywhere else they stared and pointed. The razor blade pressed against her palm and she wondered if they’d notice when she did it. Would they step over the blood? Around it? Would someone stop and ‘rescue’ her?

Two feet stopped in front and she thought for a moment she’d been recognised. Then she looked up. The boy held a plastic leash; her eyes followed it to a ragged-looking dog, its leg cocked over her shoe.

 

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Friday Fictioneers – A Reminder

This week’s FF photo is Rochelle’s own – taken from the cover of her short story anthology. It’s suitably eclectic for that purpose, so I’m intrigued as to what the fictioneers make of it. My response is below, together with previous editions again. Comments, critique and criticism all welcome.

Genre: Police Procedural!

menora

The Reminder

“What’s the picture, Guv?”

“That was taken at the first scene I ever investigated. Old Mr Lewinski killed himself and…”

“You keep the picture to remind you of the case?”

“I keep the picture to remind me that even criminals have their own human stories. Motivations that make sense in their own heads.”

“But … you said suicide?”

“Lewinski’s depression started when his daughter died in childbirth five years before. Old Lewinski raised the kid. See those crayons?”

“Oh God, he was there when the old man did it?”

“Sergeant, it was a murder-suicide. The kid was Lewinski’s first victim.”

 

Version 1:

“What’s the picture, Guv?”

“First scene I ever investigated. Old Mr Lewinski killed himself and…”

“You keep the picture to remind you of the case?”

“I keep the picture to remind me that even criminals have human stories.”

“But … you said suicide?”

“Lewinski’s depression started when his daughter died in childbirth five years before. The kid survived. See those crayons?”

“Oh God, he was there when the old man did it?”

“Sergeant, it was a murder suicide. The kid was Lewinski’s first victim.”

[At 84 words, quite a bit too short. I decided to go a lot longer for v2, then cut back, as I find it easier to cut than extend word by word.]

Version 2:

“What’s the picture, Guv?” asked Detective Sergeant Briggs, picking up the framed photograph from his boss’s desk. He’d been meaning to ask for years, and finally plucked up the courage this morning when the old man seemed in a talkative mood. [The easiest way to add words to a dialogue scene like this, is to add narrative. This is the background I’d thought was going on anyway, so I simply put it down on paper]

“That was taken at the first scene I ever investigated. Old Mr Lewinski killed himself and…” [Another way to add words is to cut out the colloquial shorthand of the senior officer.]

“You keep the picture to remind you of the case?” A menorah, a black and white photograph and an old telephone – off the hook as if someone had tried to call for help. [Again, narrative. I would have liked to keep the description of the photograph. I fought myself to keep this in the final edit, but ultimately, it didn’t make the grade, because having cut the rest back to dialogue, this bit of description stuck out.]

“I keep the picture to remind me that even criminals have human stories. Reasons, motivations that make sense in their own worlds.” [There’s a saying “Nobody ever does anything wrong by their own view of the world.” I needed a reason for the senior officer to keep the picture, but also I suspect that saying – fascinating in its own right – would be all the more potent to a murder detective.]

“But … you said suicide?” Something didn’t add up. [If I was adding narrative, I needed some in this second half of the piece, but I was very glad when I could take this out again. It feels very hard-boiled Detective story-ish to me.]

“Lewinski’s depression started when his daughter died in childbirth five years before. The kid survived her. See those crayons?” [Given the ending, “the kid survived” is confusing, so I added her. It still didn’t read right though, hence the change of focus in the final version.]

“Oh God, he was there when the old man did it?”

“Sergeant, it was a murder-suicide. The kid was Lewinski’s first victim.”

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Inspiration Monday #1: Falling Softly

Apologies for the double post today. My writing friend, Craig Towsley (http://cleveroldowl.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/inspiration-monday-dont-bleed/) has recently put me on to Inspiration Monday, a scheme similar to the Friday Fictioneers, with a main difference of being based on – guess? – Mondays not Fridays. It’s my first time, but don’t feel you need to be too kind – I love feedback and constructive criticism is the best type!

You can see the site (and the inspiration) at Be Kind Rewrite and my story below.

Falling Softly

There is no sound as I descend. The clouds caress my face, but the wind is stronger and gravity is stronger still, so that the result is far from pretty. I’ve seen photographs, I know how it looks: shaped into a hideous visage of g-forces and momentum.

It’s a little like falling in love, I think. Soundless, yet catastrophic. Infinitely safe, yet perilous in the end.

Nobody truly fears falling. They fear hitting the ground. Nobody is really afraid to fall in love, but they are afraid of all the things which come immediately afterwards: the sudden removal of one’s armour and opening one’s breast to the blows only a lover can lay – deliberately or otherwise.

She was beautiful. She was kind. And it was inevitable, perhaps, that I would fall in love with her. But as she caressed my face, she was shaping it too, making it an ugly visage of jealousy and fear, which would eventually show through. And then I had to choose: a parachute to stop me falling, or final surrender to my love.

My hand is on the pilot ‘chute. I could release it any time. But I hesitate, mesmerised by the ground below, and her face behind my eyes.

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