Okay, lovely folks, here for your enjoyment are 4 superb entries for our new "This Sentence starts the Story" Contest.
Please vote for the one you deem to be the best in the voting poll in the side bar to the right of the entries: One person...One vote. . The winner will have a book of their choosing promoted here on Authors On Show for the fortnight following the announcement. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 20th September 2011. A new sentence will be up and ready for your entries on Wednesday.
#1…The Accident .
Derek had been driving all night, he crested the hill and swerved violently to avoid hitting the woman caught in the glare of his headlights. The Ford Taunus coupé crashed against a lamppost and curled itself around it like the lid of a sardine tin. It let out a series of hiccup noises and the tingling sound of falling glass, its last death spasms. Some moments of deep, painful silence followed before the remains of man and car exploded in a spouting fountain of blazing scrap metal. The lampposts on either side of the street died out as if to pay tribute to the sight of the burning car.
Anna stood motionless in the middle of the road, absorbing the spectacle.
She knew she had about sixty seconds to get away from the scene, away from Derek and his fading superiority but her brain had temporarily locked itself in nightmare mode. It refused to give orders to her legs. Lights already flashed on in upstairs windows and two dogs were barking as if they had the scent of a burglar up their noses. Twenty seconds left. With Herculean power she tore the soles of her shoes free from the epoxy resin that paved the asphalt and moved up hill. She had just vanished over the top when the first front-door opened and a fat, pajamed man with wild grey hair stared at the burning wreckage, his face a grimace of horror. Short-sighted eyes searched the emergency numbers on his mobile phone.
It was 5 a.m. and the sun was about to announce another Saturday. The marching woman shivered in her thin trench coat. How could you plan such a thing and make it actually happen? But it was done. Derek wouldn’t be playing the first violin at the London Symphony Orchestra tonight. Not again. Never. But she would.
#2…”ON MARY’S HILL…Derek had been driving all night. He crested the hill and swerved violently to avoid hitting the woman caught in the glare of his headlights.
Reflexively he slammed on the brakes. They had little effect, only serving to lock up the wheels and cause the car to skid out of control on the icy blacktop. It turned full circle before coming to rest with its bonnet buried deep in a hawthorn hedge.
He sat rigid in his seat, his heaving chest the only part of him moving, the hiss of steam escaping from the radiator barely audible over the pounding of his heart in his ears, his hands gripping the steering wheel so tightly his knuckles were bone white.
The windscreen had shattered, allowing the frigid night air to rush in through gaping hole to sting his face, and his breath puffed from his mouth in rapid white clouds. Myriad shards of glass littering the dashboard glittered in reflected moonlight. Some had fallen into his lap.
'The woman!' he thought. 'I saw a woman. She was in the road, all in white. Did I hit her?'
He craned his neck to look over his shoulder. The lights on the car had gone out and when a cloud passed over the moon, he could see nothing in the pitch blackness outside. She could be lying in the road, injured...or dead. He had to get out and see and he had to get help, if not for her, then at least for himself, if the recovery vehicle would come this far out at this time of night.
He unfastened the buckle on his seatbelt and let it slide up into its holder. He then reached forward to open the car door - and found himself unable to move. The seat seemed to be holding onto him. There was a tightness around his abdomen, even though the belt had been released. He felt around in the dark, moving his hands over his chest and down over his stomach. His fingers probed over something rough hardness - wood? - an icy cold thinness - wire? - with sharp prongs - barbed wire? They came to rest in a warm, slippery wetness that as a surgeon, he was well familiar with. When his nostrils filled with a sickly hot, metallic smell, he understood.
The cry of a dog fox was common in those parts and often sounded like a man screaming in the night. The first carried on the still night air, caused an owl to turn its head with wide eyed curiosity. Subsequent cries went unheeded.
An hour after sunrise, a farmer in his tractor hauling beet for his cattle, came to a halt at the brow of the hill, looking down at the trail of rubber on the road, and the green BMW half way in the hedge and its front wheels in the ditch.
'Oh my good Lor',' he muttered to himself. 'Not another 'un. Please God, not another.' He pulled up behind Derek's car, climbed down from the tractor and approached. Through the iced up window he could make out a shape inside. He tapped on the window. Receiving no response, he tugged on the door, finding it unlocked.
One look inside justified his dread and confirmed his fears. He pulled out his mobile phone and dialled.
'Police please and...I'd say ambulance, but I think you would be wasting your time.'
He gave details of his location and said he would wait at the scene. When he had pocketed his phone, he peered into the car once more, shaking his head sadly.
'You're the third this year,' he said.
With his head against the back of the seat and his arms limp by sides, Derek could have been asleep. In the rosy pink of the dawn, the deathly pallor of his skin was not so obvious, nor was the bluish purple tinge to his lips, but the light was certainly bright enough to reveal the length of fencepost piercing his abdomen and skewering him to his seat. Around him in a sticky puddle, his blood had pooled but not yet congealed and the slivers of glass in his lap sparkling like rubies.
'Why won't you leave 'em alone, Mary Pickles? This is not your road. This poor bugger wasn't to blame for your death. Let 'im be the last. D'you 'ere? The last!'
From nowhere in particular, but from everywhere at once, rose a wave of soft female giggling; taunting, mocking...insane.
#3 … Before the DawnDerek had been driving all night, he crested the hill and swerved violently to avoid hitting the woman caught in the glare of his headlights.
"Good, Holy..." he didn't finish the expletive but pressed his entire weight on the brakes.
He steered into the skid and pumped the brake like he was a still stunt driver in Hollywood.
The gunmetal coloured Jensen Interceptor made an series of figure eights in melted rubber before it shuddered to an angry, breathless halt. He had just performed a couple of 360° spins at nearly eighty miles an hour and ended up facing nearly precisely the same way as he was going.
He still had it.
The top gear caused the entire two and a half tons of 1960's Sheffield steel and glass to vibrate until his ears itched. Derek realised he wouldn't have felt it had he hit her with such a beast. He blinked his eyes clear of his panic and shot a hopeful look to the rear view mirror.
She didn't move. She stood still, bisected by dawn's pale light kissing the distant horizon.
He took a few breaths to calm his nerves and then he opened the vulgar gull wing door revealing a flash of lime leather.
"Are you crazy?" he failed to rein in all of his anger.
She turned to look at him: "Nobody stopped all night, I had no choice."
"Sure you had a choice," Derek quickly softened his voice when he saw her wound. "You're hurt. You're bleeding."
"Don't be alarmed, don't drive off, please," she pleaded.
Even in her desperate state she was strangely beautiful. She'd never get a job even selling tickets in Hollywood but she might have held down a character role or two in Scorcese's New York. She looked like she was from the mid seventies. Her hair was a simple black bob, lank from sweat but neat. She wasn't super skinny but she was slight, almost boyish.
"Okay, okay. I'm staying, don't worry. What happened?"
"Better you don't know," she nodded beyond a storm rut to scrub land. "Don't go there, he's there."
"There's someone else? Is he dangerous?" Derek found his legs frozen to the spot. "Is he dead?"
"Maybe not yet," she shrugged. "Maybe in a short while."
"Who is he?" Derek asked in a shocked murmur.
She moved to the vintage Jensen Interceptor without answering.
"Lady, you need to tell me," Derek called, running into the scrub. "We can't leave a wounded person
to die. That's a crime! Where is he? What's he wearing? Lady?"
The woman shut the gullwing with a 'klunk'and gunned the V12 into explosive action.
Derek didn't run back onto the road, there was no point. He sat in the scrub and waited.
Three police cars sped past, sirens baring and lights flashing.
He waited until the tip of the sun peeked over the distant hills and set out on foot, safe in the knowledge that the cops would eventually pick her up and discover the gangster's corpse in the boot.
Derek walked in to the most beautiful dawn he had seen in years.
#4 Wanting To Be LovedDerek had been driving all night; he crested the hill and swerved violently to avoid hitting the woman caught in the glare of his headlights. He skidded to a halt. She ran up to the car and got in. It was his laboratory assistant, Lucrezia. Nothing was said as the car carried on again. They knew they had to finish the job tonight. A remote field far out in the country had been selected.
At nearly two feet deep, Dr Derek Palmer’s foot rested on the shovel. He motioned his assistant to stop. Their panting began to slow down.
They laboured their way to the car boot. Wrestling with the huge bundle he cursed his mistake…his folly…years of research wasted. It had come to this. He’d been warned but refused to listen.
Now they were pulling the legs, the arms trailing out behind as if being prepared for the last crucifixion.
Thwump!! It lay face up in its last resting place. The eyes reflected off the headlights, glassy and staring. A discarded doll at the bottom of a toy box.It had once been somebody’s favourite. Now replaced...up-graded by new research…new grants.
At the boot again. Their legs buckled under the one-hundred-weight bag. Staggering, stumbling, cursing, they reached the side of the pit, then tossed the parcel on the high piled mud. The spade came down with a slash! cutting the bag of builders lime. The doctor scooped out shovels-full, carefully, gingerly, spreading the grey dust.
It was already beginning to work. The fine drizzle of rain reacting with the powder. Bubbles forming on the face. The creatures mouth open with its last fixed grin.
Back in with the mud now. Must hurry.
Finally they patted down the mound and rested. Suddenly a thunder clash rattled overhead, illuminating his work, flickering for a second like a faulty neon sign.
Now back to the car. Ignition on. The motor turned over.
It wasn’t going to fire. He tried again.
“Shit!” he whispered. “Come on, you mother.” The damp? The drizzle? Headlights on all this time? Thoughts swam through his mind.
His assistant crossed her fingers. Heavy rain lashed the windscreen. His hand reached for the ignition key.
The explosion was immense. Both covered their faces in reflex as fork lightning zig-zagged into the mound, the final resting place of his creation.
As if on cue, reminiscent of an old horror movie, it opened its eyes for the first time.
At that precise moment the headlights dimmed. It was draining the juice. It wanted birth…knowing something else must die…pay for it.
It twitched into life. Moving its arms only to find them smothered…trapped.
The implanted brain awakened by the deafening thunder. The Monster trying to free itself. Whining and moaning. Pushing itself upwards, until, a fist punched through the earth.
On its feet now, swaying, unsteady, with mud falling off it. The lime on the body still hissing, silhouetted by steam. Its face lit up with bright lightning, momentarily flickering, showing the crude surgical joins.
The rain sheeted against the car. The doctor tried the ignition again.
The noise jerked its head. It began to moan with anger when it saw its master. Stiff, disjointed, it began to come nearer. Heavy footed plods. One lead boot in front of the other. Moaning to itself. Hungry. Arms outstretched. Wanting its first touch…to caress…to squeeze… to choke.
Moving to the car, the fingers flexed for the first time since birth. Like worms sprouting from stitched on hands…hooking its fingers into claws. Coming nearer and nearer.
The doctor and his assistant now trying to get out. Frantic…panicking. Pushing the doors with their shoulders. A central locking and electric windows malfunction? The beast grinned at them through the windscreen. It stood in front silhouetted by the lightning.
They sat back, beginning to accept their fate. Now quiet, motionless. Their faces like tortured masks. Mouths open like a couple of dead carp. The doctor’s white knuckled hands gripping the steering wheel.
It lunged at them both. The windscreen glass disintegrating amongst high-pitched screams. The car rocked violently, back and forth. Then, silence. Only broken by satisfied grunts.
It held the two decapitations and tenderly kissed them both on the lips. Then the heads were tossed away.
It looked up into the early morning sky, to the lights of a distant town. It began to walk in that direction. Plodding, heavy footed, while hoping, craving, yearning – wanting to be loved.