Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday Writings # 30 - The Chase Begins

My "Wednesday Writing" posts were initially created as a writing exercise for me to try and keep myself motivated and on track by making sure that I spend at least 30-60 minutes each week (with the follow-up goal to turn it into a daily writing practice).

Over the past few weeks, I've been continuing the same story with a single post each week. To help you catch up with this serialized story, you can use the following table of contents:
  1. Morning Machinations
  2. Communication Between Friends
  3. Daydreaming Decisions
  4. Off to the Park
  5. Driven
  6. Coming Home
  7. Revealing Photographs
  8. Just a Dream?
  9. At the Tower
  10. Caught
  11. Revelations
  12. Lunchtime
  13. The Watch
  14. Visions
  15. Escape
  16. Evan (part 1)
  17. Evan (part 2)
  18. Evan (part 3)
  19. Formulating a Plan
  20. Testing the Boxes
  21. Betrayal
  22. Julie
  23. Out of Time
  24. A Problem of Paradoxes
  25. Taking Charge

I'm still not sure I like this particular direction. This scene was fun to write. It's kind of a mess as far as editing goes (I found myself changing tense inadvertently, screwing up voice, tone, etc) but generally it was kind of fun.

The real question for me is....have I written myself into a messy corner? And if so, can I get back where I need to go and still keep this direction going or do I need to go back a scene or two and modify the direction.

Anyway, critiques, suggestions, comments, etc. always welcome.


The Chase Begins

As the mist cleared Gabby shook her head and rubbed her eyes. The world came back into focus more quickly than on her previous trips into the box. In the driver's seat, Julie stared into her box with a blank stare. She wished there was some way to communicate with Julie while they were both Observing. She hadn't thought about the fact that they'd both be on their own with no way to coordinate with the other. She watched the waxy face of Julie for a moment longer and then decided to get to work.

She closed her eyes and imagined Evan as she had seen him earlier getting into Dalton's car. As she did, her hear filled with the emotions from that instant when she felt he had betrayed her. Her mind pulled her forward to the conversation in Dalton's library where he had apparently redeemed himself and proved that he had her best intentions at heart. As she conjured up images of him in the car with Dalton, she promised herself that she would find out the truth once and for all.

Silence gave way to garbled voices and in an instant Gabby was surrounded by conversation. She opened her eyes and found herself in Dalton's care. She was surprised to find herself sitting awkwardly on Evan's lap, squashed between him and the dashboard. She struggled to get comfortable, wedged between his legs and the glove compartment, her neck and shoulders strained at harsh angles and pressing against the windshield and passenger window.

"You'd better be right Evan. You know how much is riding on this."

Dalton's voice was harsh and intense.

"We'll get her back. Don't worry."

Evan spoke almost directly in Gabby's ear, his breath warm against the back of her neck. She craned her neck around to the backseat and saw two of Dalton's bodyguards placidly watching the conversation. She strained and twisted, trying to pull herself away from Evan and into the backseat where she could move more liberally. Regardless of how she twisted and turned, she couldn't free her lower legs enough to push away.

She screamed in frustration then came up with an idea. She looked intently at one of the men in the back seat. She concentrated on his face, his motionless mannerisms. She closed her eyes and kept his image before her. A moment later, she felt the pain and pressure ease from her legs. Opening her eyes, she was in the backseat, leaning against the bodyguard. She heard a subtle gasp from Evan and he quickly glanced around then held still once again.

Twinges of near pain sparked through her legs as the blood flowed freely. She scooted into the middle of the back seat and leaned forward to observe the men in front. Dalton's fingers wrung at the steering wheel and she heard his teeth grind in his clenched jaw. Evan looked calm and serene. He had one hand resting on the arm rest, his index finger tapping lightly. His eyes seemed intently focused on the road ahead, but Gabby noticed he was slowly shifting his gaze back and forth, up and down. At times, it seemed he was looking inside the car as much as outside.

Through the darkened windows, Gabby tried to determine her bearings. The car exited the highway and she recognized the twists and turns of the road as leading to Riverside Park. It seemed like ages since she'd gone there following the strange messages. Had it really only been one day since then?

She recognized the initial turns away from the park as the same route she'd taken last night as she followed the instructions to drive from the park to Carlisle's house. The car slowly wound through the dark neighborhood. Only one or two of the homes had any lights on at all. No streetlights lit the blackness around the car. Then, Dalton switched off the headlights and slowed the car to a crawl. Gabby's skin exploded into goosebumps and a cold shiver shot through her body.

No one spoke. The silence compounded the darkness, covering Gabby like a heavy, icy blanket. Her breathing quickened and she strained to look out the windows and find any evidence of life outside the car then looked anxiously at the grey silhouettes around her in the car. A moment later, the car stopped completely and Dalton pulled on the emergency brake. Staring outside, it takes a moment for Gabby to recognize Dalton's home still 50 yards or more up the street.

"Evan. You wait here. Samuel, David and I will go and fetch Mr. Carlisle and be back in a moment."

"What do you mean, wait here?"

"Just what I said Evan. After what happened with the girl, I'm still not sure I trust you. Gentlemen? Please make sure Evan remains here."

Evan spun to look into the backseat only to turn his face directly into a flying fist of the man to Gabby's left. While Evan's head recoiled, a second punch flew forward and caught him on the left temple. Meanwhile, the man on the right half-climbed over the front seat and with a series of metallic clicks Evan was handcuffed to the door. Everything happened so fast Gabby had a hard time following the action. Evan seemed similarly confused as he twisted and turned, pulling his right arm tight against the handcuffs.

"Come along gentlemen. Let's go invite Mr. Carlisle to join us."

Gabby felt the cold night air rush in around her as the three men pushed open the doors and stepped out into the darkness. Each of the doors was slowly closed so as to make no sound. Dalton had left the car running. Aside from the subtle idle of the engine, everything was silent once again.

Then Evan started to strain at the handcuffs again. He yanked his arm hard again and again, trying to force the door handle to break away from the frame. He twisted around and pressed his feet against the door and pulled at the handcuffs with the force of his body. With an exasperated groan, he leaned back into the seat and stared through the windshield at the ghostly silhouettes of Dalton and his mean slinking up towards Carlisle's darkened house.

Gabby climbed over the front seat and stared into his face. She was about to focus on Dalton and leave the car to watch the interaction between Dalton and Carlisle, when Evan's face took on a pained expression and he began speaking.

"Gabby? Is that you? What are you doing?"

He groaned again and flailed his arms, pulling hard against the door once again. He turned his head quickly from side to side, then focussed on a patch of air just to the side of Gabby's shoulder.

"I don't know what you hope to gain by watching me like this. We're in a world of trouble and we need to get out of it."

His eyes flashed bright and intense as he stared towards her. Gabby wished there was something she could do to help him. He started riffling through the glove compartment and digging through the other compartments and pockets lining the interior of the car, searching for something to help free him.

"Why didn't you just wait for me so we could do this together?"

His voice was harsh and accusing. Gabby met his eyes but had to look away when she saw the pain and anger mirrored there.

"I told you we would work through this together. You still don't trust me, do you? What do I have to do to…"

His rant was interrupted by a loud clanging on the hood of the car. All eyes whipped towards the darkness. Across the lawn, the three shadows had paused for a moment and were looking back to the car. Then they continued on, one of them maneuvering into the back yard and the other two heading for the front door. Gabby's heart beat fast as she waited to see if the sound would repeat itself. Then, she watched as Evan softly opened the door and stepped out of the car. He pushed the door open as far as it would go, wedged himself between the frame and leaned forward, stretching out onto the hood of the car.

Gabby followed his gaze and saw the slight metallic glint of something small sitting on the car. She slid out of the car behind Evan and moved around to the front of the car. There, sitting on the hood, was a pair of metal shears. Evan's fingers pulled eagerly at the rubber handles, just barely out of reach. Gabby tried to press them towards him but they may as well have been welded to the hood for as much good as Gabby could do. She watched and prayed in silence as the shears slid ever so slowly closer to Evan's grasp.

Muffled shouts came from the house and Gabby turned to see what was going on there. Light came from a single window on the upper floor. Shadows moved quickly through the light, but from where she was, she couldn't tell what was going on. She turned back to Evan and found him working with the shears to cut through the handcuffs. Gabby suddenly worries that the shears won't work since most handcuffs these days are specifically built to disallow such simplistic tampering efforts. To her relief, she hears a sharp metallic snip just as she rounds the door and she watches as Evan fiddles with the new handcuff styled bracelet around his right wrist.

More indistinct shouting pulls Gabby's eyes back to the house. Shadows bustle around in the lighted upstairs window and then move out of sight. A muffled thud comes from the ground behind her and she turns back to see Evan already squatting over something on the grass at the side of the road. She watches as he stares into the dark yards all around them. Then more sounds erupt from Carlisle's house and, looking back, three figures emerge from the front door. Evan picks something up from the grass and slides back into the front seat of the car and shuts the door. Gabby looks inside and sees him fiddling with something then turns to watch the house.

A single figure is in front, walking with a stumbling, ambling manner and occasionally being pushed by the figure immediately behind him. The last figure stands at the open doorway, calling into the house. After a few minutes, he tosses something inside and follows the other two. Gabby takes a step towards them when suddenly the world is filled with an enormous booming sound. A cloud of flame bursts through the front door and the side windows of the home. Even from two yards away, Gabby felt the rush of heat whip past her like a hot summer wind. In the flash of light, she finally catches a glimpse of the man in front, presumably Carlisle as he stumbles and fall to his knees. The bodyguard behind him kicked him in the stomach and then grabbed his shoulders to try and pull him up. Dalton trotted forward in a slow jog.

From the corner of her eyes another flash of motion catches her attention. Off in the darkness to the right, she sees something pushing through the bushes along the house. The figure then bolts out from behind the bushes at the edge of the driveway and sprints up the road in the opposite direction. As the person runs, Gabby feels a sense of familiarity but can't quite place it. She turns back to Dalton and sees him hopping beside his bodyguard, head tilted towards him to say something. The bodyguard gives Carlisle a shove to the ground and then starts sprinting along the road. His heavy footsteps pound past the car as he chases the one witness who can shed light on this event.

Gabby turned back to the house and watched in horror as yellow and orange flames lick along the outside of the house. She feels something slam against her from behind and turns to find the car door open and Evan standing behind it, hiding his hands below the window frame.

"What did you do?"

Gabby isn't sure Dalton heard anything above the rumbling sound of the fire, especially since he was so much closer than they were. Dalton caught up with his bodyguard and helped push Carlisle forward at a quicker pace. Evan shouted again.

"Walter! What did you do?"

At this, Dalton paused for a moment and looked back over his shoulder at the destruction behind him.

"Oh, just a little assurance to make sure Mr. Carlisle here doesn't try to back out on our agreement. If he does everything just as we ask, I'll gladly come back here and turn off the main gas main. In that case, the grenade will only cause minimal damage to the main entry."

Gabby shook her head. She tried to make sense of what Dalton was saying. He'd come here to grab Carlisle for some reason. But then rather than just kidnapping him like he'd done with Julie and Gabby, Dalton had decided to blow up the man's house? What was going through this man's head? Her mind clouded over and the world seemed to move in muffled slow motion.

Behind her the sound of squealing tires tore through the other sounds. Gabby spun and saw the silhouette of the bodyguard framed by a pair of shining headlights of a car racing up the road. Gabby watched as the bodyguard's shadowy form dove to the side of the road to barely avoid the car as it swerved towards him. The car swerved too tightly in its attempt to hit the man. It bounded over the sidewalk and smashed through a wooden fence of a home across the street.

Gabby heard shouts from the bodyguard accompanied by popping sounds, barely audible amid the commotion of the fire and the speeding car. Looking back, she saw the bodyguard running forward, gun in hand firing rapidly at the weaving vehicle. The car bounced back off the sidewalk into the center of the road. As it neared Gabby standing by Dalton's car, Gabby heard the clanging of bullets hitting the frame. Then another sound cracked through the air followed by more squealing of tires and violent swerving as the car struggled to drive down the road.

As the car passed Gabby, she realized the bodyguard had shot out one of the tires. But at the same moment, her body sunk as another realization came to her. She recognized the car. Her recognition turned to fear as she watched driver intently pulled at the steering wheel, wildly whipping her head around trying to make sense of the scene. Meanwhile, in the passenger seat, a girl sat nearly motionless staring into a small box pressed against the dashboard.

The car continued to swerve and headed for the sidewalk again, this time pointed directly at Dalton and Carlisle. Dalton gave Carlisle a shove to one side while diving to the other. The car careened towards Dalton who stood and tried to jump further away. From where she was, Gabby couldn't tell exactly what happened, but Dalton spun away from the front corner of the car and fell to the ground. Gabby rushed forward and watched in horror as the car continued speeding towards the burning house. She sprinted after it, screaming at Julie to stop the car.

Seconds later, the car slammed into the burning home. Embers shot out of the house like fireflies swarming around the car. The front wall of the home shuddered, then fell with a crunch and buried the vehicle from sight. Gabby paused for a moment and stared all around her, trying to convince herself of the reality of what was going on. Behind her, Evan ran forward with a gun in his hand. He slowed as he approached Dalton, then knelt over him and nudged him with the gun. Gabby saw the staggering form of Carlisle trying to get to his feet.

Then she turned back to the house and ran forward. The heat was intense. The car was buried up to the trunk in blackened, burning planks of wood and vinyl siding. Across the street, porch lights flickered on and the stunned terrified faces of nameless neighbors stared back at Gabby. She turned back to Evan and watched him shove Dalton into the back seat of the car before climbing into the driver's seat and speeding away. Gabby continued trying to inch towards the car embedded in the burning home, but the intense heat forced her back and the flames drowned her screams.

She fell to the ground and cried. As she reached up to wipe the tears from her face, she realized that she still clutched the box in her hands. With a feeling of relief, she reached down and pressed the Black Bailout button. She felt a surge of pressure wrap around her and she felt as though she was being pulled to her feet. The world spun and a moment later, the heat of the fire disappeared and she found herself staring through the windshield of the car at the side of the road. Smiling and fighting back tears, she turned to the driver's seat to hug Julie. But Julie wasn't there.


Brian Miller said...

lots of action in this one...from a technical standpoint, there are some tense issues (past/present) and think you could drop a few 'then's for fluidity...

logankstewart said...

Nah, I think you'll be fine. No corner to block you.

But I agree with the tense changes. It's confusing. Still, this was an exciting addition.

Phoenix said...

I'm getting a little bit more confused but still hanging onto to every word! (Btw, small edit: when Gabby arrives in the car she would be in Dalton's car, not Dalton's CARE. That was confusing as it's grammatically correct but not contextually! :)