Here goes...Rough short story

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Here goes...Rough short story

Post  aalmcmullen on Sat 17 Apr 2010, 10:32 pm

*Taking this down for now, and maybe will post up new stuff soon. Message me if you haven't read this yet and would like to.


Last edited by aalmcmullen on Mon 26 Apr 2010, 11:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Here goes...Rough short story

Post  Dreamygrril on Sun 18 Apr 2010, 12:11 pm

Im not a spag queen so I'll stick to what I know Smile

I loved the twist at the end lol, TOTALLY unexpected and the jokes about twilight? Classic!

My only bother was the bladder thing, is she eighty? LOL at first I pictured a much older character, could be because I read and write regular fiction as well where characters are assumed to NOT be all young women.

The male character is very interesting (nice descript there) and the woman is turning out to be very likable in terms of I could read her a whole book.

Very nice!

The type of stuff you PAY to read.
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Re: Here goes...Rough short story

Post  aalmcmullen on Sun 18 Apr 2010, 6:08 pm

Thanks, Dreamygrril! That's what I'm hoping for. It's not done, but I'm going to try to finish it this week.

The bladder thing is my attempt to add a big flaw to the character, something that makes her laughable but also more sympathetic. I was reading Jim Butcher's livejournal about writing, and he advised having set flaws or character-specific characteristics that will help the reader instantly identify the character, like having a character always carry a certain weapon and a shark tooth necklace or always wear shabby clothing.
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Re: Here goes...Rough short story

Post  Seira on Sun 18 Apr 2010, 11:44 pm

*hyperventilates*

We-were-owl? Someone's been listening Mia complain about Were-skeets too much I think. Sorry, joking, joking.

All kidding aside however it was a beautiful story. I'd definatly buy it. I couldn't find any flaws, not that there arn't any, just if there are they are above my head. I liked the Twilight jokes though. You had my laughing several times through out the story. Very nicely done.
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Re: Here goes...Rough short story

Post  aalmcmullen on Mon 19 Apr 2010, 11:17 am

Thanks, Seira! Very Happy I confess I haven't heard Mia's were-skeet complaints, but were-owl seemed slightly silly and different enough to be fun to write. I'm curious about were-skeets now though, lol.

Ever thought of all the animals you'd never see as a story were? No were primates of any kind. No were cow. No were bunnies?
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Re: Here goes...Rough short story

Post  Gwyndolin on Tue 20 Apr 2010, 5:25 pm

I'm sorry it took me so long to reply!!! I've been reading this for a couple of days now, but I'm really busy at work and at home lately, so I haven't been able to get through all of it.

I really enjoyed this read. I love the flaw you gave your MC. It makes me giggle, and empathise with her all at once.

I loved the little real-life details you inserted. Some examples, Jeremy sits to wait for her, and he pulls out his cell phone, which signifies to her that he intends to wait for a minute. That's what people do these days when they're waiting for someone. They mess w/ their cell phones. The team Jacob comment is funny, too, but it makes it up to date and relevant, too, which I think is funny. And I loved Twitch-Butt.

I love the colors and smells and sounds you insert seamlessly into your story.

I like where you're going with it, and I like your originality! Keep it up.

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Re: Here goes...Rough short story

Post  aalmcmullen on Tue 20 Apr 2010, 5:30 pm

Thanks, Gwyndolin. You just made my day. Very Happy (Need a smiley for those moments when your grin is too big to fit your face.)
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Re: Here goes...Rough short story

Post  aalmcmullen on Wed 28 Apr 2010, 2:34 pm

Okay, here's the second half of my story. It's really rough because I finished it at 2 am last night and am still working on the edits and need to research a few things. This takes up after she finds the body, gets told by Mr. Hottie Owen MacArthur that she needs to beware of voodoo or hoodoo or Santeria. And, oh yeah, he's a were-owl.

(If you haven't read the first half, or you would like to re-read it, let me know. I'll try to get it to you)


Falling back against the door, she let another hysterical giggle loose before she set the chain. Her thoughts were awhirl on a merry-go-round of fatigue as she slowly undressed and slid into the sheets, her last conscious thought before sleep twirled it away was the memory of red hair waving in the wind above a black body bag.



Dinah shifted into auto-pilot the next morning, her mind numb from exhaustion and shock as she dutifully waited for her replacement at the front desk and fielded the myriad queries and angry complaints lobbed her way from guests whose plans were curtailed by the police department’s orders. She wondered vaguely if Owen MacArthur, hottie by day, feathery by night, would make a reappearance, but her interlocutor of the early hours never graced her lobby. Melanie and Patty paused before clocking in to give her short hugs but, taking in her red eyes, refrained from asking any questions. Dinah slurped bad coffee and answered the phone until Jeanette arrived, letting her mind play dead for all intents and purposes as the world around her went on.

She drove home on the service road, mindful of her lack of sleep, with the radio blaring a morning talk show, but the noise only seemed to envelope her further in her numbness. After taking Clyde out for a potty break and making sure his little bowls were full of food and water, she fell face first into her bed and into a sound sleep.

A small wet nose rubbing her cheek followed by a warm little tongue woke her at 5:30. Taking in his tight little dance on the bed beside her, she hurriedly rushed him outside, a kernel of a memory sticking to the back of her mind. It tugged at her awareness as she showered and dressed, and plucked at her thoughts as she flicked the TV on to a home redecorating show and ate a bowl of cereal. Finally she gave in and booted up her laptop to look up voodoo, hoodoo, and whatever else Mr. Hottie the Owl had warned her against. After reading a confusing mix of West African religious beliefs, Catholic saints, and bad movie references, she gave up and shut the computer down. The last of the day’s sunlight slipped between her blinds as she lay back on the couch, gilding her apartment around her. Clyde took up residence on her chest as her mind roamed through her memories of the day before. Guilt nagged at her as she thought about Jeremy and whether he had made it home yet from the police station. Maybe he had been dating Terah Peterson, or attempting to, but she believed Jeremy had as much to do with the vixen’s death as Clyde. Before she could relive even older memories of the way he kissed and the feelings of betrayal that still stirred in the pit of her stomach, she dislodged Clyde and sat up.

Owen had said not to leave anything of herself where others may take it. Why? She refused to try to wade through the confusing mess available online. Couldn’t she just ask someone? Who? She chuckled at herself as she picked up her cell phone and dialed the hotel’s number. As the phone rang, she changed her mind, unwilling to talk to Owen MacArthur again until she could figure out what to make of him and his were-owl comment. Before she could hang up, Jeanette answered. Switching tactics, she asked for Rachelle’s phone number instead. Rachelle had lived in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina. If anyone could explain hoodoo or Santeria to her, Rachelle could.




Dinah drove slowly down the back roads of town, hunched over the steering wheel as she peered past the reach of her headlights for the turn off onto Rachelle’s road. Street lights had disappeared long ago along with regular road maintenance; her car rattled through graveled potholes and hard-packed dirt. Her headlights flashed over a tilted street sign on the right finally, and she turned onto a skinny dirt road lined with mobile homes that had left their better days long behind them. Dirty, banged up cars sat on plots of dirt and weeds in front of single-wides, along with bikes missing seats and plastic toys. Light bravely tried to escape windows lined with foil in a few homes. The rest lay dark, empty or asleep. Anxiety pooling in her belly, Dinah parked in front of the seventh one on the left, behind Rachelle’s old Monte Carlo. An unshielded porch light turned on as she turned off her car, and Rachelle stepped out the front door onto a set of cement stairs.

Her voice was husky as Dinah walked towards her, pushing her front door open with a shoulder, “Welcome to my home, Dinah.”

Dinah followed her into her narrow home, dodging the moths and June bugs that tried to zip through the door and buzzed perilously close to her hair. Rachelle closed the door behind her. The sound of the dead lock turning over seemed ominous in the silent house. Dinah glanced around the living room area, trying to ignore her growing discomfort as Rachelle shuffled past her into the kitchen. A beige couch, its nap well worn and stained on the arms, took up most of the living room, along with a much newer looking recliner with a broken footrest and a cheap glass coffee table. A do-it-yourself shelf was nailed into the wall above the couch, a line of dolls stretching across it in a random assortment of old plastic babies with open mouths, homemade bean babies and rag dolls, and delicate china dolls in fine satin clothes, a layer of dust clinging to their hair. An ancient fan shed sporadic light on the room, each noisy turn of its blades rocking its housing in the ceiling.

Unwilling to stand beneath the shaky contraption, Dinah followed Rachelle to the kitchen, where the housekeeper was standing in front of the stove, watching a kettle on the boil. Rachelle glanced up at her then handed her an empty mug. “Tea?”

“Where are your kids?” A collage of children’s doodles and school work decorated the fridge door, small yellow smiley faces and foil stars gleaming in the dim light from over the stove. Grim figures of unhappy children and water lapping at roofs and chimneys scrawled with crayon and pencil didn’t match well with the smiley stickers.

“Out.”

Dinah waited for a further response, but Rachelle’s attention seemed glued to the shuddering kettle. Uneasiness coiled in her stomach. Why the silent treatment?

“Umm, may I use your bathroom, Rachelle?”

Rachelle looked at her with a dead expression, her dark eyes flat before she shrugged her shoulder in the direction of a dark doorway behind the kitchen table. “Down the hall, second door.”

Dinah scooted behind the table hastily and plunged into the dark hallway. The carpet felt sticky under her sandals. She walked slowly with hands touching both walls as navigation, feeling for the gap of first one, then two doorways. With the palm of her hand, she pushed the door back and switched on the light. Dirty clothes littered the floor in front of the sink. Pale green toothpaste formed hieroglyphics in the sink. Cartoon fish danced in patterns across the vinyl shower curtain, their toothy smiles almost garish in the tiny bathroom. Trying to ignore the mess, Dinah used the toilet and washed her hands carefully in the sink. She stared at her pale face in the mirror, her lips thin and white as she fought the sick squirming of her stomach. A blue blouse caught on her foot as she turned away, pulling away from the pile to follow her out. She stooped down to yank it off, and a familiar scent wafted up to her face, for a brief moment stronger than the smells of dirty laundry, soap, and old toothpaste. The scent of Terah Peterson’s room as she entered with the cleaning cart.

Dinah walked blindly back down the hall to the kitchen, her growing tension having reached the size of a small, loudly yapping dog in her stomach. The kettle’s shriek as she approached the table sent her airborne. With shaking fingers she took it off the burner, unwilling to listen to it erode her last nerve. The kitchen lay empty around her, the living room beyond dark and still but for the noisy rotating fan. Heart stuttering in her chest, Dinah headed towards the front door.

“You leaving?” a soft voice asked out of the darkness.

Dinah whirled. Rachelle sat on the couch, one of the dolls propped on her knees, another laying face down against her thigh.

Waiting for her eyes adjust to the darkness, she could make out a long thin object in Rachelle’s hands, twirling between her fingers.

“My stomach hasn’t been right today. I’m sorry,” Dinah gulped hard. “I’m sorry I interrupted
your evening.”

“Some tea might help your stomach settle,” Rachelle murmured without looking up from the doll, its hair waving in the air current from the ceiling fan. Dinah’s eyes dilated with sudden heartbreaking clarity as she looked at the shifting lock of hair, bringing back the memory of hair trapped in the zipper of a body bag. The tuft of hair sewn to the doll’s head was the same shade of red as Terah Peterson’s.

Dinah unlocked the front door and shoved it open, darting out onto the cement steps. Moonlight streamed heavily into the cleared area between the trailers and glinted red on the end of a long knitting needle as Rachelle snagged her sleeve through the open door. The little cement stairs rocked beneath Dinah as she lost her momentum. She quickly shrugged out of Rachelle’s grasp but tripped on the last step down as the stairs shifted beneath her. Dinah flew face first into the dirt, gravel and weeds digging furrows through her cheek and outflung arms. Forcing herself up, she smashed into Rachelle standing above her, the back of her head connecting with teeth and cartilage.

“Fuck!” Rachelle spat out as Dinah shuffled away from her with a hand clapped to her head. Blood trickled from her nose and lip and slowly began to drip off her chin. Rachelle swiped a hand under her nose and then stared in disbelief at her wet fingers. Her eyes glittered like faceted jet when she looked at Dinah again. “I should’ve killed you before, you dumb bitch!” Her fingers clamped harder around the knitting needle as she hurled herself at Dinah.

Dinah squealed as she jerked back, her face burning and head ringing from the connection with Rachelle’s teeth, and then dodged around the front of her car. Dinah, focusing on the slim length of metal tucked close to Rachelle’s hip, lost sight of her other hand briefly until it connected with her cheekbone. Her head rocked backwards in a dizzying sea of stars. Rachelle took advantage of her daze and flew forward, shoving Dinah to the ground. The knitting needle raked a trail of fire along Dinah’s side as she fell beside the driver’s side door, the mirror smacking hard into her kidney on the way down. She lay in a fugue as Rachelle stood over her, blood sluggishly dripping off the other woman’s chin and down her neck in a dark wet smear.

“I liked you, Dinah. You’re a nice girl. Why’d you have to see me last night? Why couldn’t you keep your dumb eyes closed?” She paused to spit out a clot of blood, then wiped her mouth on her shoulder. “I know you didn’t like that stupid bitch either-“

Dinah finally gasped in a deep breath and shot up, kicking out as hard as she could into the side of Rachelle’s calf. Rachelle crumpled to her knee, clutching the kicked leg, spitting blood and curses at Dinah. Not willing to lose her momentum, Dinah yanked open the car door and slammed it into Rachelle’s face. Rachelle screamed as her forehead crunched and her nose flattened into her skull, dropping the knitting needle from suddenly loose fingers.

Tears and snot running down her face, Dinah jumped into the car and locked both doors. She spun out of the driveway in a fan of gravel and dust, her headlights illuminating Rachelle’s prone form briefly before she hit the gas and hurtled out of the trailer park.



Jeremy found her at the gas station once the police cars had flown past, her car parked under the well-lighted awning over the gas pumps.

“Di? Dinah?” Jeremy rapped gently on her window until she snapped out of her daze. She jerked away from the door at first, her eyes wide with shock, then, blinking hard, she rolled down the window.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know who else to call. Parker’s too far away.” Tears welled in her eyes.

“Hush.” Jeremy brushed her hair out of her face and grimaced at the dark bruise growing on her cheekbone. “Unlock the door for me, then scoot over. I’m driving.” He turned to hit the lock button on his key chain for his truck while she crawled over the console into the passenger seat.

Once ensconced in her car, he leaned over to hug her. “It’ll be all right.” She nodded slightly, her head throbbing in pain, and sat back as Jeremy drove her to the hospital.





Owen MacArthur strode into the lobby of the hotel a week later with a small box in his hands as Dinah got off her first shift back at work. Todd and Emma watched her with concern as she clocked out and gathered her purse with deliberate motions, but neither said anything but guarded farewells as she headed towards the door. She knew Todd was afraid that she would quit after the crap she had been through a week ago. She wanted to, truthfully, but Clyde depended on her to bring home the kibble. Besides, she was good at her job.

Owen followed her back out the revolving door. Dinah smiled carefully at him. “How are you today, Mr. MacArthur?”

“That isn’t what matters. How are you, Dinah?” His expression was worried as he studied the blobs of green and brown and streaks of red that decorated her face.

She tried to keep her own expression pleasant despite the pain that hovered over her cheek. “I’ve been better. But I’ve never turned into an owl, so it could be worse.”

His smile flattened briefly. “Ha ha.” He shook the box at her. “I really need to speak with you. But I think you should be sitting when I do.”

Dinah, swallowing a sigh, motioned to her car ahead of them. “There’s my car. We can sit and talk here if you’d like.”

He glanced over at her, studying her face, then nodded. He waited for her to climb into the driver’s seat after she unlocked the doors, courteously holding the door until she was seated and her purse tucked into the back floor board. He then closed her door and circled around, climbing into the passenger side while vigilantly keeping the box upright.

“Are you really all right, Dinah?” he asked once they were both inside the vehicle. The hula girl air freshener dangling from the rear view mirror danced between them, shuffling in either direction as the car settled.

Dinah blinked and wrapped her hands around the steering wheel. “Aside from trying to pay off my hospital visit and x-rays, I’ll be fine.”

He waited for a moment to see if she would go on, then said, “Have the police told you anything about what happened?”

She turned to stare hard at him. “No. They questioned me at the hospital and a couple of times since then about the attack, but I don’t think they’ll be telling me anything for a while.”

His dark brows formed a line over his eyes. “Do you want to know?”

“Yes,” she answered softly. Terah Peterson’s twitching rear, her bloody body, the visit to Rachelle’s trailer and her attack all seemed like memories from a lifetime ago, but bile bubbled at the back of her throat.

“They’re trying to link Rachelle to the deaths up and down the Louisiana-Texas border. If they can gather enough evidence to connect them, she’ll be convicted of six murders. Rachelle was a well-known hoodoo shaman that lost her flock when they evacuated from Katrina. She lost her house and her source of income when she left New Orleans, everything she’d built up over her lifetime and her mother’s. She’s been trying to make a name for herself around here, to gather more customers or parishioners. So many people that got hurt by Katrina and didn’t have any home to go back to are stuck in this area. A lot of them are blaming their insurance companies for not giving them full restitution for their homes and livelihoods. Rachelle struck onto the idea of getting revenge on some of the claims representatives and investigators. She earned small lumps of money from those needing vengeance and started to gain power as someone to be feared and respected.” His eyes gleamed gold in the late afternoon sunshine as he said, “There was a doll for each of the deaths on a shelf in her house. She was cursing them with death.”

Dinah exploded. “That’s just bullshit! The woman chased me around her driveway with a bloody knitting needle! I saw the body, Owen, remember? The needle matched the holes in Terah Peterson’s neck! What is wrong with you, that you think you’re a frigging bird and that some woman somehow murdered a bunch of innocent people with dolls? I promise you, she wasn’t trying to kill me with a doll!”

Owen remained quiet, his body unnaturally still until she finished, and then he slowly opened the box. “Don’t ask me how I got this. She left this on her couch. I thought it would be best if you had it.” He opened his car door and stood up, taking the box with him but leaving its contents in the seat. He leaned back in and met her eyes squarely. “Call me if you start seeing more than you can handle. I’ll try to help.” He dropped a business card into the seat then shut the door. She could hear his footsteps as he headed back towards the hotel, but she couldn’t tear her eyes away from the passenger seat.

A small doll sat in the seat beside her, pale lips embroidered in a polite smile on its handmade face beneath blue eyes fringed in dark lashes. Familiar dark hair was sewn into its scalp and made little waves over the shoulders of a white button up shirt with epaulettes. Plain black trousers covered its bottom half. And a bright green third eye stared up at her from its little forehead.

Dinah’s car revved hard in its parking spot before she shifted it into gear and took off out of the lot, a dust cloud following in her wake. Owen MacArthur watched until it was a small blue dot on the horizon, and then stepped through the door into the hotel.




Let me know if you see anything that needs fixing! Action sequences are soooo not my thing. scratch
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Re: Here goes...Rough short story

Post  thisangel on Sun 16 May 2010, 10:58 am

I really liked this - your story idea is original and engaging, and your MC well thought out and realistic. My only criticism/advice is to watch your pronoun use - at times - especially in the fight scene - I had to re-read a couple of times to figure out who was bleeding, etc - and at times you seem to have skipped things - like why is Dinah driving out to Rachelle's when she could have asked her over the phone about Hoodoo? I know you needed her to be there, but the transition between getting Rachelle's number and then driving all the way out there seemed sudden to me Smile

Other than those things, this is a great story, and I'm looking forward to reading more!
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